Baseball’s First Knucklebatter Still Hitless

Tim Rogers, the knucklebatter the Royals organization took a chance on in the 2009 draft, still remains hitless in his third season in minor league baseball.

"We would have liked to see some results at this point, sure," said Royals general manager Dayton Moore. "But just like a knuckleballer, a knucklebatter can be a little hot and cold. Tim is in a cold spell right now."

Rogers, who grew up a Boston Red Sox fan, said he got the idea to try knucklebatting while watching Tim Wakefield pitch.

"If he had success pitching, I figured there might be a way to bring it to hitting," said Rogers.

"I just want everyone to know that I did not encourage Tim to be a knucklebatter," says his high school coach, Mike Thomas. "It's beyond stupid."

Gripping the bat just with his knuckles, Rogers believes that if he made contact with the ball, it would spin out into play in such a manner that it would make it impossible to field.

Moore got wind of the high school knucklebatter and decided to use a 2nd round draft pick on him in 2009.

"He never got a hit in high school either," said Moore, "but his approach intrigued me. Our main issues are finding a way for him to swing the bat a little faster even though he's just holding it with his knuckles — usually he's way late to the ball — and, then, when he does make contact, not have the bat go flying out of his hands."

Moore says he does not regret using a 2nd round pick on Rogers, player never having a hit on any level, not to mention the flawed physics behind the knucklebat theory.

"Teams like us have to be creative to compete with the big-spending teams," said Moore. "For instance, right now on our major league roster we have many players who are terrible at baseball. See what I mean? It's a different approach."