Scenes From Spring Training: DWI

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No, that’s not what you think it means. It refers to “Deal With It,” and they were the letters written on a white board inside the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse after some Navy Seals visited the team yesterday. The message: when you have a problem, get past it, dude. Navy Seals do that, and the Dbacks should do it too. (UPDATE: I see the “Deal With It” thing has spread wider than I realized).

Yeah, I think this is a different kind of training camp than the Dbacks are used to having.

The visit by the Navy Seals wasn’t set up by Kirk Gibson, but he talked about it a few minutes ago when he took media questions.  He was pleased with the visit and he’s definitely got that message at the top of his priority list as his young team gets into real baseball games starting tomorrow.  “You know what Navy Seals do,” Gibson said.  “We’re not asking them to go that far.  But we want to change our mentality.”

Gibson is pleased with the effort he’s seen, but he’s more interested in making sure that the lessons from the past week translate into action in the game.  You get the sense that he has his concerns.  “Just do it, just like you did out on the practice field,” Gibson said, explaining what the main message is to his team.  His tone is reminiscent of, say, a high school coach: he’s confident in his players, but he’s well aware that there are going to be some bumps ahead.

When you think of people who might be adept at dealing with the fragile psyches of young players, you don’t necessarily think of Kirk Gibson.  That may be an assumption based on old information, of course, as most of us think of the fiery player of 20 or 30 years ago, not the current man, about whom we know relatively little.

But the fragile psyches of a young team are his primary responsibility now.  I think it will be fascinating to see how he deals with them this season.

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.