Orioles reliever Pedro Strop has been struggling, allowing eight runs in his last four appearances, and he was booed off the mound by the home fans last night after coughing up four runs while recording one out.
Afterward he talked about being bothered by the boos, telling Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun:
I heard it when I was walking from the mound. Booing somebody like that–I was giving everything I’ve got to help the team win and to give a good show. … They don’t care about players. They care about good results.
It’s not a big deal. I know they just want to see good results, but at the same time, they don’t know what it takes, what hard work and dedication it takes to perform well. So that’s why they boo, because they don’t know.
I tend to agree with much of what Strop said, in that booing a player simply because he’s performing poorly–as opposed to, say, not giving a full effort–has always struck me as silly. Still, it’s tough to imagine there being any benefit for Strop speaking publicly about the boos.
The type of person who loudly boos a relief pitcher coming off the mound after a bad performance seems unlikely to read that relief pitcher’s thoughts in the newspaper and think: “Hmm, I never realized it could hurt his feelings. I’ll stop and tell everyone I know to do the same.”
Instead, next time Strop struggles I’d bet on the boos being even louder. Having delved into this topic quite a bit last year when Twins fans at Target Field were booing a struggling Joe Mauer, I know there’s nothing people who boo like less than being questioned about why they’re booing.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.