Mormons Have Fastballs, Too

Matt Lindstrom, a former Mormon missionary, is vying to become the closer this season.

The 27-year-old, blond-haired Swede grew up in Rexburg, Idaho, where he became a star at high school baseball, thanks largely to a 92 mph fastball.

But the missionary work from 1999-2001, along with a 2005 stress fracture in his upper arm has slowed his progress. During his two years in Sweden, Lindstrom picked up a ball only once - for a game of catch. He pitched last season for Mets affiliates Class-A St. Lucie and AA Binghamton before being traded to Florida in November.

With a fastball clocked at 102 mph last fall and an 80-some mph slider, the rookie right-hander is one of the better candidates for the closer spot since Joe Borowski's move to Cleveland. Other possibilities as spring training begins include Henry Owens, who came to Florida with Lindstrom in the Mets trade, lefty Taylor Tankersley, Kevin Gregg and Ricky Nolasco, who served as a starter much of last season.

Source: Miami Herald