Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter relies on his speed and quickness to get on base and track down fly balls. Those skills have made him one of the most exciting players in the American League, and earned him an All-Star berth in 2002 and three straight Gold Gloves as one of the best defensive players in baseball.
A normally durable player, Hunter's promising career took a step back somewhat early this season, when he injured his hamstring while trying to run out a base hit in April.Though he tried to play through the pain, he was eventually put on the disabled list and missed 16 games as a result of the injury. He ran and stretched regularly to help his leg heal, but it wasn't until the Twins played the Seattle Mariners in early May that Hunter heard about the benefits of acupuncture, and considered giving it a try.
"One of the clubhouse guys said Edgar Martinez, Dan Wilson and Ichiro (Suzuki) get it done," Hunter said in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I would have never known about it."
On May 6, a day after aggravating his hamstring, Hunter saw a practitioner for treatment, and said he could feel the effects of the therapy in his muscles as the needles were inserted. Positive results were seen almost immediately, as Hunter went 2 for 4 in his first game after treatment.
Hunter has yet to miss a game since receiving acupuncture on his hamstring. At the time this article was published (July 13, 2004), he was batting .277 - 10 points above his lifetime average - and was among the club's leaders in home runs and runs batted in.