Clay Zavada: A Lunch-Pail Prospect for the Diamondbacks


"Days before the Yankees signed C. C. Sabathia to a $161 million deal, one of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ most promising minor league pitchers rose before dawn at his house on the outskirts of this central Illinois town. An overnight storm had coated the roads in ice, and the thermometer read 8 degrees. It was the perfect morning to sleep in, but not for Clay Zavada, who steered his Nissan Sentra toward town — past frozen cornstalks, an abandoned farmhouse and the red lights of windmills blinking in the distance. A dilapidated motel and a series of fast-food restaurants indicated his arrival in Streator. Zavada could not afford to be late. This was the only time the high school gym would be empty, and his old coach — the assistant principal — would have time to catch for him..."