ZEBULON — The Carolina Mudcats have received an infusion from the major leagues. Former N.C. State star Doug Strange is in the area for a few days on a rehabilitation assignment.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman was given the option of where to rehab a bum ankle, the choice was simple.
"The AAA club was on the road," Strange explained. "Having played at N.C. State and living here for a few years -- you're never excited about doing rehab work. It's kind of nice to come back."
Strange played his final game with the Mudcats Tuesday at Five County Stadium. Now it's back to Pittsburgh, where he's coming off his most productive season as a pro. During his seven years in the majors, Strange, for the most part, has been a utility player. But being a bit performer can't detract from a solid pro career.
"I think I'll be able to look back," says Strange. "I've got more than seven years in the big leagues now. I'm signed through next year. So, I guess I consider myself somewhat successful. Am I surprised? Every player thinks he can play forever. But you just play as long as you can and do your job."
That blue collar mentality always seems to help land him on a major league roster. In his seven years in the majors, strange has played for six different teams. Such is the life of a utility player.