Hours after CC Sabathia went all Shiva the Destroyer on Carlos Pena's season, 35-year-old Chris Richard took a walk. The free pass was his first in the major leagues since April 30th, 2003. It's been a while, but Richard has been in the majors for extended periods of time before. In some ways, this lowers the "Aw" factor associated with players like Michel Hernandez and Winston Abreu, in others it ups it.
When Richard was demoted, he was a 29-year-old with 982 plate appearances in the majors and two seasons removed from playing in 136 games. In that season with Baltimore, he hit .265/.335/.435 That's not stellar, but it's not awful either (since 2005 Kevin Millar has hit .252/.347/.405 and still finds work based on clubhouse motivational skills...seriously).
He's not your typical organization soldier. In his first major league at-bat he popped a homer. Literally 12 days later he was dealt for Mike Timlin. In 2003 he was traded or Jack Cust. In 2005 he was in the Rangers minor league system, then the Pirates in 2006 and since 2007 the Rays. Not a bad list of accomplishments for a 19th round pick out of Oklahoma State University.
His performance, well, does it even matter at this point? I'm certainly not going gaga over the idea of Richard starting for the Rays, but whatever. At least he's a nice story and supposedly a nice guy. He's one home run from career number 35 and 17 plate appearances from 1,000. Here's hoping he can achieve such in these next few weeks.