Mike Scioscia and the Angels are “concerned” about C.J. Wilson

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Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson has allowed 10 runs in seven innings since returning from a month on the disabled list with hip and ankle injuries.

Wilson looked bad last night against the Dodgers and manager Mike Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:

This is probably the worst C.J. has struggled since he’s been a starting pitcher, so naturally, you’re concerned. There’s certainly been some head-scratching over his last seven or eight starts. But seeing how hard he works, seeing that it doesn’t look like it’s anything physical, we’re very confident he’s going to get back on that beam and do what we need him to do.

Wilson had a 3.34 ERA on June 19. Since then he’s allowed 32 runs in 24 innings with a 21/14 K/BB ratio and .394 opponents’ batting average.

He originally went on the disabled list with an ankle injury, but then said he discovered while rehabbing that he’d been pitching through a hip issue that had hurt his performance. If the Angels had any appealing fallback options Wilson might already be booted from the rotation, but his job appears to be safe unless general manager Jerry Dipoto can swing a waiver wire trade.

Wilson is under contract for $18 million next season and $20 million in 2016 as part of a five-year, $77.5 million deal.

Tommy La Stella talks about his refusal to report to the minors in 2016

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In late July of 2016, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A. It wasn’t personal. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella had options left so, despite the fact that he had been an effective player to that point of the season, it made sense to send him down.

La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. In fact he refused to report to Iowa and went home to New Jersey instead. It was not until August 17 that he finally reported and then only after prolonged discussions with the Cubs and the assurance that he’d be back in the majors once rosters opened up. Which he was, after spending just over a week down on the farm.

Such a move by a player would, normally speaking, make him persona non-grata. His teammates would shun him and the organization would, eventually, cut bait, with the press characterizing him as a me-first player as he walked out the door. That did not happen with La Stella, however, who remains with the Cubs two years later and, by all accounts, is a popular and important guy in the Cubs’ clubhouse, even if he’s not one of the team’s big stars.

Today Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has an in-depth story about La Stella, what went down in 2016 and how he and the Cubs have proceeded since then. The story is subscription only, but the short version is that there was a lot of understanding and empathy on the part of the Cubs organization and their players about what was going on in La Stella’s head at the time and how everyone allowed everyone else the space to work through it.

I’m happy to read this story, because all too often we only hear about such incidents as they occur, with little followup. To the extent the story is told, most of the time its completely one-sided, with the player who acts out being treated like a bad seed with little if any explanation of his side of things. And, yes, there are always two sides to the story. Sometimes even more.

Kudos to Rosenthal for telling this story. Here’s hoping the next time a player is involved in a controversy that, in the moment, makes him appear to be a bad seed or have a bad attitude, we hear more about it then too.