PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Pitchers -- relievers and starters -- are routinely grouped for training camp drills. Seldom is the group based on anything significant -- maybe an alphabetized list of mothers' maiden names, SAT scores, musical tastes or the randomness of the mind of Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen.
But after the Sunday workout here, reliever Vic Black came to a startling conclusion. His group had been a bunch of redheads or redbeards or fellas who would qualify as redheads if they hadn't shaved their skulls. Honest to Lucy. Black, a wonderful free thinker, thought freely for a moment and suggested his group of pitchers had been victims of pigment profiling.
Ah ha! How else could the grouping be explained?
Black's hair and beard have shades of red. Also in the group was Bobby Parnell, who qualified without question or consultation with a hairdresser. It included Zack Wheeler, whose head is shaved but whose facial hair gives him away, and Josh Edgin.
How does red hair fit into the baseball equation? Quite nicely, the Astros think. They spent the first selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on right-handed pitcher Mark Appel out of Stanford who is as much a redhead as Whitey Ford was a towhead when he broke in. "I guess it's OK," Black said. But he noted had been told by a scout that scouts typically shy away from redheads. Who knows why?
By the way, Black anxiously awaits the arrival in camp of one Rusty Staub.
Oh, and Ike Davis had red in his beard. And he was a pitcher at Arizona State. … Hmmm.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.