Bill Hass on Greensboro Grasshoppers Baseball:New arm slot, old rituals help Josh Hodges

from Bill Hass at

New arm slot, old rituals help Hodges

Baseball players may be the most superstitious of all athletes.

Take Josh Hodges of the Greensboro Grasshoppers. On his way out to the mound, the 6-foot-8 pitcher doesn’t just step across the foul line, he jumps across it.

“That’s an old ritual that I’ve done ever since middle school,” he said. “I want to keep that bad mojo from working against me.”

When he finishes an inning, Hodges doesn’t care if he steps on the line or not. But what he does is take off his glove and his cap in one motion.

“I’ve done that since middle school, too,” he said, “but I don’t have a reason for it. I take off my glove and hook my thumb under the hat.”

Those habits certainly worked in Hodges’ favor Thursday night. But what really helped him was a new arm slot that enabled him to pitch seven innings as the Hoppers beat Lakewood 4-1. It was their 15th straight win at NewBridge Bank Park and 19th in 21 games here this season. Overall, the Hoppers are 29-10.

Hodges improved his record to 3-1 with the win, his first since April 18. He had scuffled in three of his last four outings, which led to the change in his delivery.

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