02.20.07

Lincoln Holdzkom : Possibly Not The Next Denny McLain (At The Organ)

Posted in Baseball at 12:32 pm by

Further testimony that Wikipedia might, heaven forbid, be less than 100% accurate, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Brian Taggert.

He steadfastly denies rumors circulating on the Internet that he was once a piano prodigy who made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson when he was just a toddler.

There are even some in the Astros organization who believe pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom, acquired by the club in December via the Rule V draft, has an extraordinary musical background.

If Holdzkom does have a musical past, he won’t admit it, except to say that he and his brother, John, cooked up an elaborate story and posted it on the online encyclopedia site Wikipedia ” a site that can be edited by the public.

“It’s not true,” Holdzkom said of his child prodigy story. “We just make things up, and Wikipedia puts it on there. I’ve never been on Johnny Carson. It just sounded good.”

The barrel-chested Holdzkom, who impressed the Astros at last month’s Nolan Ryan Elite Pitching Camp at Minute Maid Park, can reach the low to mid-90s with his fastball.

“We were really impressed,” Purpura said. “He was a little behind from a throwing point of view, but it’s only because his offseason preparation wasn’t at the point as some of the guys that have been in the system. He’s got a nice arm and looks good.”

So what about his past? Is he really a reluctant piano man or just a master jokester?

The only oddity Holdzkom will confirm about his résumé is that he’s never given up a home run in more than 200 innings pitched in the minors. And that’s a tune the Astros would like him to keep playing.

(In the Arizona Fall League in 2006, Holdzkom did allow three home runs in 20 1/3 innings. He was 2-0 with a 7.08 ERA.)

“It’s just one of those things,” Holdzkom said of not allowing a homer in the minors. “Who knows how long it’s going to last? It’s really gotten a lot of attention. People keep asking me about it and ask if it’s an error in the paperwork. I want to keep it going.”

Based on an AP story making the rounds this morning, I’d say Rey Ordonez has a pretty good shot at being the opening day shortstop…..for the Newark Bears.

Not only has Billy Wagner admitted to being the culprit behind the “KNOW YOUR PLACE, ROOK” sign placed above Lastings Milledge’s locker, the part-time player with all of one year’s tenure in the Mets clubhouse feels very confident passing judgement on Da Edge (above) to Newsday’s David Lennon.

“He wasn’t bad,” Wagner said. “It’s sort of that grooming. We all went through it, and hopefully, he’s learned and matured . . . Hopefully, he understands what it means to be here and to respect his team and respect the game. That’s what we expect. The kid’s young. He was brought up, and like every young, immature rookie, you have to learn to respect the game and your teammates.”

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