Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff eyeing a comeback
Aubrey Huff didn't like the way his career ended, the grips of depression and anxiety issues leaving him hating himself and baseball even as his Giants teammates celebrated a 2012 World Series championship.
So the long-time Devil Ray is now working to make a comeback, hoping at age 39 to both prove an inspiration for others afflicted and craft a better ending for himself.
"I'm realistic,'' Huff said Monday from San Diego. "I'm fully aware people will think this is crazy. That's fine.''
Huff said he has overcome the mental health issues - to the point where he is no longer on medication or receiving counseling - and is convinced two-plus months of workouts in an isometric-heavy regimen crafted by trainer Jason Huntley has him in tremendous physical shape at 212 pounds.
"The swing is there,'' Huff said. "Now it's a matter of having someone give me a shot.''
Huff said the anxiety and depression became such an issue during his final season with the Giants that he found no joy in the game, even in winning a second championship ring.
"Everyone else was celebrating, I had a belly full of Xanax, I was miserable, I couldn't care less, I was the first one out of the clubhouse,'' Huff said.
"I hated myself. I hated baseball.''
With treatment and a commitment to faith, Huff said he worked past his issues, realizing it wasn't baseball he hated but the person he had become.
"I couldn't be happier,'' he said.
The idea of a comeback had been kicking around in the back of his head for a few years, but he said he merely wanted to get in shape when he first got with Huntley to start working out. So when Huntley brought it up, he gave it some serious thought. And with the convenience of the Frozen Ropes batting facility adjacent to Huntley's gym, Huff said he he quickly got back in the groove.
Huff is seeking a chance to play winter ball to show his form, but if not will hope for a spring training invite, confident he can produce as a DH and provide leadership, not concerned about the money just the opportunity.
And, yes, a return to Tampa Bay, where he played 2000-06, has crossed Huff's mind: "I keep telling my trainer and my wife, for whatever reason I keep seeing myself in a Rays uniform.''