I crossed paths with Hand nearly 10 years ago when he was a young pitcher for Class 2A Hatton High, a country school based in Lawrence County. I worked for The Decatur Daily and kept hearing about this young right-hander who could throw a baseball through a fruit loop.
Our newspaper kept close tabs on Hand as he moved on to Jacksonville State, then professional baseball. He returned home in the off-season to work baseball camps and serve as an assistant varsity basketball coach at his alma mater. His job was to call in the game results to us at the local newspaper, which he always did – quickly and without fail.
Here’s what we learned about Hand: As talented as he was at baseball, he was just as good at graciously helping his hometown newspaper. He never failed to be polite, upbeat and friendly. His friends, teammates and coaches always said that’s just typical Donovan.
On Saturday, he got his first major league start and pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over the Atlanta Braves, and I imagine there are plenty of us inside the Alabama borders cheering for the Brewers’ rookie pitcher. How could you not like somebody that good-natured?
Contact Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @MarkSportsStar.