Before this season Nationals center fielder Denard Span played his entire five-year career in the American League with the Twins, so he wasn’t quite up to speed on National League rules.
In fact, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that Span was confused about being removed from yesterday’s game as part of a standard double-switch and initially thought he was being benched by manager Davey Johnson:
“I’m like, ‘Did I not hustle? What did I do?’ ” Span said afterward. “I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve never been pulled out of the game like that. I’m still learning. Honestly, I’m starting to kind of understand it, but I still don’t fully understand it. I understand what’s going on, obviously. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Even after a gentle explanation, Span still wasn’t quite sure of the whole double-switch thing. … “If I ever become a manager,” Span said, “it’s going to be in the American League.”
Not quite as bad as Donovan McNabb not knowing the rules to NFL overtimes a few years ago, but still kind of weird. The good news for Span is that by the time he becomes a manager there’s a decent chance both leagues will be using the designated hitter anyway.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.