Once upon a time, the Twins had an outfielder who was known for his computer skills almost as much as his baseball skills -- and who hit .299 in 2004, his first full season in the majors.

Lew Ford.

After being let go by the Twins after the 2007 season, Lew never got another chance at the majors. In fact, in the four seasons since, he had only one other offer from a major league organization -- playing briefly for the Reds' Triple-A team. Otherwise, he's played in Japan, Mexico and three times with an independent baseball team called the Long Island Ducks.

But Friday night, Ford was in center field for the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A team of the Baltimore Orioles. He went 2-for-3 in his debut after batting .333 in 19 games with Long Island.

At age 35, he's one step away from a return to the majors.

If you need a refresher on why some folks really, really liked Ford during his Twins days, here's a 2007 story from ESPN.com's Jim Caple, who used to cover baseball (quite well) for the St. Paul newspaper.

Note that the story debunks the tale of Ford burning himself while ironing a shirt that he was wearing. But other stuff, well, some of it was true.

Basically, according to the masnsports.com web site, the Orioles are "trying to fill out Norfolk's roster," which is code for "don't expect to see Ford playing the outfield at Camden Yards."

Still, being at Triple-A is a lot closer to the majors than being a Long Island Duck.



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