By JOHN LEMBO
Jeff Sues is surprised.
(Or should we say startled? Stunned? Stupefied?)
But he is also accommodating.
(Handy. Helpful. Hospitable.)
Sues is on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster this spring, hoping to land a spot in the Pirates’ bullpen.
(Haven. Shelter. Domicile.)
He also majored in English for three years at Vanderbilt University. More times than not, it’s not baseball questions people want Sues to answer.
(Acknowledge. Plead. Parry.)
Favorite author? Favorite book?
“I’ve had so many people ask me these questions,” he said with a laugh.
(Cachinnation. Chuckle. Guffaw.)
His favorite book is Sidney Sheldon’s “The Other Side of Midnight.” But he enjoys reading anything, really, which is why the 25-year-old New Jersey native decided to study English.
Consequently, he doesn’t understand the fuss.
(Ado. Flutter. Fret.)
“Are you going to tell them you play baseball,” Sues remembers friends asking, “or are you going to tell them you read all the time?”
Sues does play baseball. And he’s serious about playing baseball.
(Got nothing here. How else can you say baseball? Some folks refer to bowling as kegling, but that doesn’t do us much help here.)
He just likes books, too.
“It’s pretty much something I took up on long bus trips, just to kill time,” Sues said. “I just assumed going to college, getting a degree was the normal thing to do.”
So why all the interest?
(Engrossment. Enthusiasm. Excitement.)
“It’s picked up a little bit lately,” he said. “But it’s fine. It’s probably a little bit more unusual than playing video games or what not.”
Sues also likes to compete (bandy, battle, challenge..) which is why he has been able to throw four perfect innings this spring after losing all of 2005 and ‘06 to shoulder surgery.
“I tried to compete with myself in the rehab,” Sues said, “and push myself hard that way, to try and get back and be strong — stay strong...Through that, I think I was able to come back strong that following year and get healthy and be where I want to be.”
He got some reading done, too.
“I had a lot of down time,” he said.
The real story here is beyond the brainy major, Sues is just a regular guy.
(Chap. Chum. Dude.)
He plays baseball. He jokes with his teammates. He plays cards.
“I guess the only thing I don’t do is the video games. I know a lot guys do the video games,” Sues said. “I guess I supplement that for the reading.”
Supplement? Good word.
“I was an English major. What did you expect?”
John Lembo, sports writer, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2097.