PEORIA, Ariz. -- Sparks High grad Randy Messenger retired six of the seven batters he faced during a scoreless two inning stint in his spring training debut with the Seattle Mariners.
Messenger has shed 30-plus pounds off his 6-foot-6 frame during the offseason and looks so different that not even his wife, Vanessa, immediately recognized him when he walked from the left-field bullpen to the pitcher's mound at Peoria Stadium on Wednesday, according to MLB.com.
"At first, she didn't know it was me," he said Thursday morning. "Obviously, she knows what I look like, but I usually don't wear a Spring Training hat, which has a bent bill. Between the hat, and that skinny guy coming in, she didn't know it was me until I got to the infield [dirt]. That's when she got excited."
The eighth and ninth innings made for an exciting day for both Messengers.
The pitcher retired six of the seven batters he faced during a scoreless two-inning stint, and afterward the spouse called it one of her best-ever birthdays.