The Nationals are switching things up at closer.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider, manager Davey Johnson announced Tuesday night that right-hander Henry Rodriguez has been demoted back to his old setup role.
Johnson will open things up in the ninth inning, giving save chances to a combination of Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen until Drew Storen (elbow surgery) is ready to return.
Rodriguez has allowed 10 hits, 13 walks and nine earned runs in 18 innings this season and has blown three saves. He’s one of the hardest-throwers in the major leagues but the 25-year-old failed to run with this particular opportunity to be a closer.
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.