Mat Latos is in need of a dose of maturity

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Mat Latos has been fantastic this year. I want to say that at the outset. If he doesn’t pitch like he’s pitched most of the season the Padres are not in this thing right now. He’s taken the ace role and, even if he may be petering out a bit under the workload as the season ends, he deserves some credit for his moxy.

But he also deserves a figurative kick in the pants right now. Partially for what looked like some pouting in last night’s game against the Cubs — he was clearly miffed by the umpire’s strike zone and the Padres’ defensive lapses, both his teammates’ and his own — but also for these comments he made to Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com, talking about the hole in which the Padres currently find themselves:

“Baseball works in funny ways,” said Latos, now 0-4 with a 10.13 ERA
over his past four starts. “The only way I could honestly put it is, we
could be like the Giants and go and change our whole lineup, put guys
with ‘San Francisco Giants’  across their jerseys. We didn’t.

“We added two guys [Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick,
now hitting .221 with five homers in 54 games with the Padres]. We’ve
been the same team all year. We haven’t just gone and grabbed guys from
other teams.”

Welcome to baseball, Mat.  Teams make trades for players, be they your team’s two guys or the six or seven players the Giants have brought in over the course of the year.  It makes you no more morally or ethically superior to the Giants. It in no way constitutes an excuse for poor performance by the players who remain.  It does, however, make you look really, really immature to be complaining about such things.

Latos has one start left this season. It will come against those Giants, be they authentic, in his estimation, or fraudulent.  They’ll all be trying to hit the cover off the ball when Latos pitches it to them.  He had best concentrate more on that and less on commenting on which team is doing a better job of keeping it real.

Nationals place Koda Glover on 10-day disabled list

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The Nationals have placed reliever Koda Glover on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hip impingement, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Glover said he is “extremely confident” that he’ll need only the minimum 10 days to recover.

Glover, 24, felt hip discomfort when throwing his first pitch in Tuesday’s relief appearance. He attributed it to the cold, per Janes.

Glover was one of a handful of candidates to handle the ninth inning for the Nationals. It’s been a mixed bag for him, as he has a loss and a blown save along with a 4.15 ERA and a 6/1 K/BB ratio in 8 2/3 innings.

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.