Still a Hobgood fan? Yep.

Today, I find myself once again writing about Matt Hobgood.

Some fans and commenters to this and other blogs just can't get enough of the guy and commenting on his selection by the Orioles with their top pick in 2009.

I know the majority of fans and readers here wish him the best and support him.

I also know there are a few fans who see him as my boy and were likely outwardly excited at the news of his shoulder injury. They can't wait to tell me again how right they are and that I am just a homer spouting the company line.

Go ahead. I can almost name the readers who feel that way or figure out the aliases they will use to get their usual digs in.

Now, for the rest of you:

As of Dec. 29, 2010, it looks to me like the Orioles may have made a poor pick with their selection of Hobgood.

I also know that his major league ETA was 2013 or 2014. If he ever makes the majors, what he does then is the only thing that will matter. I also know if he pitches great for the Orioles in 2014, all the Hobgood bashers will be long gone and claim they were never here in the first place.

The early returns on Hobgood - from his conditioning issues to last summer's injuries to his lack of fastball velocity to this lastest injury - all look bad.

I'll say this: I am convinced the O's didn't draft damaged goods. He threw off the bullpen mound at Camden Yards a week before he was drafted and the club reportedly had him undergo an MRI that came back clean.

If they had any injury concerns about him whatsoever and then still drafted him fifth overall, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard. They just didn't do that.

But somewhere along the line, Hobgood gained weight and lost some of his velocity. Now he's hurt again.

A poor combination, to say the least.

If liking the guy (I've talked to him and interviewed him many times) and rooting for the young man makes Hobgood my boy and me a homer, then I'm guilty.

I won't turn on him now to make myself look tough or more popular with a certain segment of fans who I could care less about being popular with anyway.

I like him as much today as I ever have and will now root for him more than ever. If you want to rip me for that, have at it. If you want to rip him or scouting director Joe Jordan, they are fair game, too.

Before you say the club should never draft high school pitchers, realize that three of the four current Phillies aces (Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels) were high school draft picks.

One high school pitcher with a shoulder injury should not cause your organization to never draft another 18-year-old kid pitcher, just like the Glenn Davis trade should not mean the O's never again trade prospects for a slugger.

All I have said dozens of times about Hobgood, the final chapters have not been written and we are still in the early stages of this book.

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