Ryan Howard's batting average may have dipped to .150 after making the final out in Monday's Phillies loss, but don't let anybody tell you the struggling first basemen isn't contributing. He's been a great mentor to heir apparent Tommy Joseph, and is even credited with giving the impressive rookie his new nickname.
As Todd Zolecki writes for MLB.com, Howard recently dubbed Joseph "The Scorpion," which apparently will stick because Joseph won't just come out and say it's kind of lame.
He is surprised as anybody to learn he has a new nickname, but he is not going to argue with veteran teammate Ryan Howard about it. During pregame stretch recently, Howard asked his teammates where they were from. Joseph said he hailed from Arizona and Howard immediately blurted out the name of the eight-legged, double-pincered arachnid that seems to find its way into every home and hotel room in the desert state.
"Before games we do a high-five and a little scorpion thing," Joseph said after Monday night's 6-4 loss to the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park, raising his hand over his head like a scorpion about to strike its prey. "Trust me, it caught me by surprise. Whatever they want to call me works. If he wants to roll with the Scorpion, let's roll with it."
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Nicknames are hard. Some people have a knack for them, and clearly some do not. If Joseph continues producing the way he has 19 games into his Major League career -- .311 average, five home runs, .903 OPS -- he's certainly going to be nickname-worthy. We're just not convinced the Scorpion works.