Mark Hendrickson is a 6-foot-9 former NBA player who has had scant success in his major league career.
The now 40-year-old Hendrickson recently became a grandfather but has not given up on the hope of calling himself a major league baseball player once again.
Early during Buck Showalter’s time as the Orioles manager Hendrickson received an invitation to Spring Training. From her Showalter talked tot he lanky lefty about changing his arm slot to create more deception to opposing hitters. Hendrickson pitched at the Triple-A level for the Orioles in 2013 and was in Independent Ball last year.
He still has not given up though attending the Orioles minicamp on Monday.
“This is me taking my career by the horns, so to speak, and doing what I need to do,” Hendrickson said via The Baltimore Sun. “Because, realistically, the biggest hurdle for me is getting past the age factor and getting people who are front-office people to not look at age and say, ‘Well, forget him.’
“It’s about relationships that I have, reaching out to Buck. He’s a straight-shooter. He’s not doing a charity case. If he doesn’t think I can help, then I’m not going to be here. So for me, it’s just taking that initiative and saying, ‘Look, I don’t want to waste your time. You don’t want to waste my time. Let’s give this a shot.'”
Upon Showalter’s advice Hendrickson is now throwing the ball side-arm and thus far the coaching staff of the Orioles have liked what they’ve seen even if the pitcher himself calls it a work in progress.
“I’m probably more comfortable with it being side,” Hendrickson said. “I’m trying to stay a little more upright this year, and as a result, I think I can tinker with my slot. It just feels more comfortable all around, and it just looks better. … Each year, even a scout for the Red Sox last year, when he watched me, said it was a lot different than the first year I was doing. It’s just a work in progress. Like I said, trying to get better at it and a better feel for it.”
Though parts of 10 big league seasons Hendrickson has appeared in 328 career games posting a 5.03 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP across 1169 innings of work.