Lance Berkman, who missed the Thursday’s Grapefruit League opener due to a bruised left knee, made his exhibition debut against the Tigers on Friday night. Functioning as the club’s designated hitter, Berkman was 1-for-2 with a double and a strikeout:
“You can only do so much in the cage,” Berkman said. “You need to go out
there and get your feet wet, and it was a good start. I felt OK
running. [The knee] isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely playable. I think
we’ll be able to manage.”
Berkman is penciled in to play first base against the Braves on Saturday. While this is all well and good, I’m more interested in the controversy of whether Berkman’s knee was injected with shark cartilage or chicken comb. Turns out it was chicken comb.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.