This thing is officially a mess, but we’re going to try to lay out all the different reports and go from there.
Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada removed himself from Saturday night’s lineup against the rival Red Sox, telling manager Joe Girardi an hour before game time that he “needed a mental day” of rest. At least, that’s how Girardi put it in his postgame press conference. A report that surfaced around the third inning from the YES Network’s Jack Curry told quite a different tale:
According to person briefed on Posada’s exchange with Girardi, Posada told mgr he was “insulted” about hitting 9th and “threw a hissy fit.”
Posada is now claiming to have a stiff back — a result of taking pregame infield practice at first base — but did not inform Girardi of the ailment during their pregame conversation.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made his way to the press box around the fourth inning to discuss the matter but did not divulge much information, saying that he “didn’t want to speak for” the 39-year-old designated hitter and that he had no knowledge of any sort of injury. Reports followed stating that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner was “in contact with Bud Selig’s office” regarding Posada’s refusal to play.
There aren’t two sides to this story. There are several. But in each one of them Posada looks like a complete clown. He either refused to play on Saturday night against the Red Sox because he felt slighted at being dropped to the ninth spot in the lineup — a preposterous attitude considering his lofty $13.1 million salary and current offensive struggles — or he’s actually injured and didn’t bother to tell anyone.
Whatever the case, it’s on Posada to patch things up. Either with a public apology or closed-door meeting with Girardi and Cashman, an apology must be issued so that the situation can blow over.
Posada is batting just .165 with a .621 OPS in 33 games this year. On a team full of aging DH types like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones, the guy is far more expendable than he might think.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.