It’s not quite Carlos Silva scuffling with a teammate in the dugout because the defense made an error behind him in an exhibition game, but Padres ace Mat Latos had a mini-freakout following a rough spring training start yesterday.
Don Norcross of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Latos, who has been known to get overly emotional about things in the past, “fired his glove against the dugout wall” and “took issue with an umpire’s strike zone” after failing to make it out of the second inning against the A’s.
Bud Black stressed afterward that he’s “not worried” about Latos’ outing, and rightfully so, but the manager did say some interesting things about the 23-year-old right-hander’s emotions in general:
I saw some frustration as the inning moved forward and you can’t pitch like that. Mat again was a little bit erratic. He just didn’t look comfortable. We’re going to have to make sure we iron out some things in the bullpen. For some players, it takes longer than others to get those emotions channeled.
As Carlos Zambrano will tell you, there’s a fine line between “bulldog” and “anger management classes.”
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.