Must-Click Link: Is Brady Anderson creating problems in Baltimore?

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Brady Anderson hasn’t played in a big league game since 2002, but he has a locker in the Orioles clubhouse and dresses with the team.

Which would be fine if he were on the coaching staff and reported to Buck Showalter. But he isn’t — not exactly, anyway — and doesn’t. He’s actually the Vice President of Baseball Operations which, theoretically, makes him the second-in-command of the Orioles front office. And he’s a close confidant of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, seemingly answerable only to him.

Today Ken Rosenthal looks into Anderson’s curious role on the Orioles, and reports that it has created some friction in Baltimore. In-house everyone sings Anderson’s praises as a key member of the club, particularly with respect to strength, conditioning and nutrition, areas in which he was always ahead of the curve during his playing career and remains so. Coaches and players who have left Baltimore, however, take issue with Anderson’s alleged interference with the coaching staff and the perception that he is something of a clubhouse spy, reporting to Angelos and inserting himself into contract matters, which is not the sort of thing that people in uniform, in the clubhouse on a day-to-day basis do. Anderson denies that he plays a big role in this regard.

Where the truth lies here is likely contingent upon who is telling the story. The front office/clubhouse divide is a notoriously complicated one, with loyalties and traditions that don’t lend themselves to easy parsing. Given how much more of a role the front office has in on-the-field decisions today than it did even a decade ago, that relationship becomes even more complicated. How much of this is about that traditional divide breaking down and players reacting negatively to it? How much is it about front office overreach? It’s hard for us on the outside to know.

Either way, it’s an interesting read. And not just for what it means for Anderson and the Orioles. It tells us a lot about how clubhouses and front offices operate. Sometimes dysfunctionally.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.