Monday, July 14, 2014
#444) JOSIAS MANZANILLO
Manzanillo was unable to retain a spot in the Mets bullpen during spring training the following season. A disappointed Josias almost refused his assignment to Norfolk but reconsidered. "I didn't want to start over and rebuild with another club," Manzanillo told The New York Times. "I felt like what I had to do was show them here what I can do." Less than a month into the season he was rewarded for that decision when the Mets added him to the major league roster.
The spirited pitcher was known for ending innings in an unusual way. Josias would place his head down and sprint full speed into his team's dugout whenever the third out of an inning was recorded. This bold display would occasionally irritate the opposing batter who had created that out. Something which might encourage an opposing pitcher to retaliate. "It's my nature. It's the way I play the game. It's nothing I plan," explained Manzanillo. "It's not to show anybody up or to be a hot dog. I don't want to do anything that would put my teammates at risk. That's not good for the team, either."
"Manzy" fit well into the job of a major league reliever. Mets manager, Dallas Green established him as the set-up man to the club's closer, John Franco. "This is all new to me," Josias observed. "but I like the idea of throwing one inning. I like the idea of setting up for Johnnie, because he's one of the best in the game at that role." His season took a bad turn when an MRI on August 2nd revealed a bone spur in his right shoulder. The injury ended his 1994 campaign with 37 appearances over 47.1 innings, with a 3-2 record, 48 strikeouts, and a 2.66 ERA.
He returned to pitch the beginning of the 1995 season with much different results. "I think it's a matter of confidence as much as anything," Green said in mid-May. "Manzy breeds on confidence, and he doesn't have it right now." Josias was designated for assignment and selected off waivers by the New York Yankees on June 5, 1995. His 12 appearances for the Mets finished with a 7.88 ERA over 16 innings.
The Mets returned Manzanillo to the organization when he resigned on July 3, 1998 following his release by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It was not until Opening Day the next season before he pitched for New York in a major league game. He threw two scoreless innings of a 2-6 loss to the Miami Marlins at Dolphin Stadium on April 5, 1999. "I see myself as a guy that needs a job in the big leagues and will pitch in any type of role that throws me out there," Josias told the NY Daily News. Pitching for the Seattle Mariners two years earlier, Manzanillo had been struck in the groin by a Manny Ramirez line drive. He was not wearing a protective cup. The extreme injury forced emergency reconstructive surgery to both testicles. "I came back and I wasn't the same guy," Manzanillo offered. "My confidence was tough because I was trying to protect myself before I threw the ball." His work during the 1999 season was brief as the Mets designated the right hander on May 10th. His final run with the Mets ended with a 4.90 ERA over 18.2 innings of work.
Josias pitched for three other clubs before retiring from baseball in 2005. "I love baseball. I have a passion for the game," Manzanillo said. "I enjoy every single time I walk on that field." He remained around baseball by establishing Manzys Pitching Farm in Florida. HIs program offers pitching instruction to prepare youth for high school and college programs.
Josias Manzanillo signed his card in the set at a private signing in Florida by Signatures4U on July 2, 2014.