Hensley Meulens presented with The Royal Decoration of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

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The Dutch were apparently a lot more impressed by his 12 home runs than the Yankees were.

Prior to Friday’s game at AT&T Park, Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens was presented with The Royal Decoration of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, making him the Dutch equivalent of a Knight. Apparently, the Giants have already been calling him “Sir Bam Bam” since the honor was announced in April.

Meulens, a native of the Dutch island of Curacao, represented the Netherlands in the 2000 Olympics and was a coach on the 2004 squad. He’s in his third season as the Giants’ hitting coach after working his way through the minors.

A product of much hype as a Yankee prospect in the late-80s, “Bam Bam” hit .220/.288/.353 with 15 homers over seven major league seasons (a dozen of the homers came with the Bombers).

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?