GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Peavy has been hooked into Barry Zito’s Strikeout for Troops since he first met retired U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Chris Hill.
Hill, according to Zito’s web site, served four tours of duty in Iraq. When he met Peavy he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and barely spoke. But at the end of their first meeting, Hill, who like Peavy hails from Alabama, responded when the White Sox pitcher offered a “Roll Tide.” Hill now tours for Zito’s organization as a speaker.
[SPRING TRAINING: White Sox notes, 3/11]
On Monday, Peavy hosted Hill and 11 other wounded Marines, including 10 who are still active, as part of Zito’s three-day event. The Marines were treated to an Adam Dunn hockey clinic co-starring Chris Sale, a quick visit with White Sox manager Robin Ventura and announcer Hawk Harrelson, as well as autographs and pictures with assorted players. The group is on a baseball tour and will also go to dinner and a concert with Zito and Peavy on Monday evening.
“Me and Chris Hill have a bond like no other,” Peavy said. “I get teary-eyed just thinking about what he’s been through and who he is now. To be a friend to him through that, like I said, it’s life changing for me. … It’s about trying to brighten these guys’ day, what they’ve been through and you see the shape some of them are in. To be able to take them out of their world for just a little bit and bring them to a park and to a ballgame, we’re going to have dinner tonight and play some music.”