Baseball and Glove

June 2, 2003

Shea Hillenbrand got to introduce himself to his Arizona Diamondbacks teammates when he joined them in San Diego. His old pal Carlos Baerga, a fellow Red Sox cast-off, telling him he was excited about playing for a club near his home in Mesa, Ariz.

He spoke fondly of his Red Sox teammates. His mentor, Johnny Pesky, was sufficiently upset to shed a tear or two and even spoke of resigning.

Then Theo Epstein’s name arose, and Hillenbrand’s expression soured. He said he had no qualms about being traded for reliever Byung Hyun Kim – you may recall Boston’s haphazard bullpen that season.

Hillenbrand suffered an emotional boo-boo about the way Epstein told him about the deal. He said he first heard of his reassignment when a friend saw it reported on espn.com at 1 p.m. Epstein told him at 6:30 p.m., after the Red Sox flew from Tampa Bay to Toronto, where they had an off day.

That Esptein gave him the news face to face didn’t impress Hillenbrand.

“I could care less what Theo did,” he told Boston Globe scribe Chris Snow. “I would have been more appreciative if he had given me a phone call when he found out because I could have flown out that night.”

They were on the same flight to Boston. Hillenbrand said. “Luckily he didn’t have the seat right next to me.”

What would you have done, tough guy?

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