Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis laughs during baseball spring training Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) By Mark Duncan
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Out of a job before his 30th birthday, left-hander Dontrelle Willis was looking for another chance. It came in a phone call with someone he knows very well.
Dusty Baker's wife knew Willis when he was a youngster, forging something of an extended-family bond. The Reds manager called Willis over the offseason and suggested he sign a minor league deal with Cincinnati, which could use him in the bullpen.
Even though Willis has been a starter his entire career, he took the offer. The former NL Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star is pitching for his fifth team in two years. Willis was known as D-Train when he took Florida by storm in 2003 and led the Marlins to the World Series.
Now, he's just trying to keep his career going.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)