There’s a story in today’s Delco Times about Mike Sweeney. About how great a guy he is. About how he adds so much to the Phillies’ team chemistry and has made the clubhouse a happier, friendlier place to be. Because of him, they’re “the feel-good Phillies.”
No mention whatsoever, though, of the fact that back in May Sweeney was challenging his teammates to fights and browbeating and intimidating reporters who said negative things about his team as the Mariners disintegrated scarcely a month into the season.
My point is not that Sweeney is not a nice guy and a good person — by all accounts he is. It’s that it’s a hell of a lot easier to be a great and friendly teammate when you’re winning (like Sweeney’s Phillies are) than it is when you’re losing (like Sweeney’s Mariners were).
We should try to keep that in mind whenever we see feel good (or feel bad) stories about ballplayers. They’re human just like the rest of us, and these stories tell us less about their subjects than they do about their subject’s circumstances.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.