Pujols’ Grandstanding

by

On behalf of Cardinal Nation, I submit this recent article from mlb.com to defend our Musial-esque hero from recent housefly allegations of grandstanding. Here’s to a little humility from someone who doesn’t have to be humble.

Pujols lets bat do the talking
04/25/2006 12:40 AM ET
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com

ST. LOUIS — This time, Albert Pujols acted like he’s been there before. Of course, he has — 11 other times this season and on 212 other occasions in his career. Not to mention two previous occasions against the same pitcher, Oliver Perez.

But the last time he took Perez deep, Pujols showed a different side. Despite the fact that his home run against Perez last Tuesday at PNC Park came with his team already down, 8-0, Pujols tossed his bat defiantly. It didn’t sit well in some quarters, including some quarters of his own clubhouse.

Pujols was making a point about Perez. With said point made, he felt no need to do it again. On Monday night, when he cranked a first-inning shot against Perez, Pujols made no special show. He motored around the bases quickly and was done with it.

“If you look at it, he struck me out last year and he did all his dancing and all that stuff, and I remembered that,” Pujols said. “That’s what happened in Pittsburgh. I hit that ground ball back at him [in the first inning in Pittsburgh] and he did his little dance again, and I got really upset.

“I went to the video room and I told my guy Chad, ‘I’m going to hit the next ball and I’m going to hit it a long way. But don’t look at the ball. Look at where the bat is going to land.’ Because I respect this game just like everybody else. And when I see a guy like that, with the talent that he has, disrespecting the game — that might be the way that he pitches, but I don’t care.

“I don’t care what you do out there. But when you start pointing and looking at the guys at the plate when you strike somebody out, that’s disrespecting the player. I probably shouldn’t have taken it to that level, where I threw my bat like that. But at that moment I was pretty [angry].”

After explaining his rationale to the throng of reporters around his locker on Monday night, Pujols also expressed some regret about his show.

“[Scott] Rolen mentioned something, but he knew why I did it,” Pujols said. “He knew I was pretty upset about the way the guy is, but he was one of the guys who told me, ‘Hey, you’re a better player than that. You respect this game so much. Don’t bring it down to that level, because you are the one that is going to look stupid.’ Which I did. I looked stupid. That was my fault. I’m human. I make mistakes. Drop it like it’s hot. That’s it.”

As far as Pujols is concerned, the matter is closed.

“I heard a couple of people say something yesterday about the home run that I hit against him in Pittsburgh,” he said. “They were talking about it. My wife was actually the one that brought it to my attention, and I told her why I did it. I told her why I did it that day.

“And that’s it. I need to drop it. I hit one tonight against him and I ran the bases like I always do. I probably shouldn’t bring it down to that level like I did last week, but I showed today that that’s not the way I play the game. At the same time, I need to respect my teammates. Because I don’t want any of my guys to get hurt from me doing something stupid like that.”

The subject didn’t even come up with Perez after the game. The Pittsburgh left-hander was more concerned about falling to 1-3 and giving up seven runs in five innings. While the ballpark was different, and so was Pujols’ reaction, Perez said that what Pujols hit was just as it had been at PNC.

“It was the same as the last game,” he said. “It was a little cutter that was supposed to be outside and it was in the middle.”

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28 Responses to “Pujols’ Grandstanding”

  1. Michael Lasley Says:

    I think any Pirates player should be allowed to dance for any reason at any time. The poor team has so little going for it. I’m glad Pujols showed remorse though.

  2. DeJon Redd Says:

    Pujols has a worse attitude than Barry Bonds. (Maybe I am biased. And if given the chance, I will draft him first for my fantasy team. But my dog has no respect for him. None!)

  3. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’ve never seen him, but this Perez dude sounds like a character. He related to Joaquin Andujar?

  4. Michael Lasley Says:

    Ahh, Joaquin Andujar…one of the most entertaining players ever. Even if a bit unstable.

  5. Whitney Says:

    Personal note to DeJon’s dog: “Way to go, Sheff! Good dog. You’re so smart. (And Major says hi.)”

  6. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Worse attitude than Barry Bonds?!?!?!

    Okay, I’ll bite. What makes you say that?

  7. Joe Longhorn Says:

    Cub fans talk crazy, Al.

  8. Joe Longhorn Says:

    “Walk’em in” Andujar. Loved watching that guy. His level of crazy exceeded even the average cubfan.

    As for Pujols, you’d think a man of his age would be past all the posturing and pride games the young bucks play. I mean, c’mon. A guy in his mid-thirties should be above that.

    I don’t doubt that Albert Pujols is 26 years old. I just don’t think Albert Pujols plays for the Cardinals. He’s probably back in the Dominican Republic and enjoys watching his oldest brother tear up MLB pitching.

    Mark my words… the Pujols playing for the Cards hits a wall in two years, somewhere around his 36th birthday.

  9. DeJon Redd Says:

    Pure jealousy, Al. Pure jealousy.

  10. DeJon Redd Says:

    I suspect this is an NL Central dominated baseball crowd (Cards, ‘Stros & Cubs.) Therefore, I’m wondering how you other fans feel about the disparity between the NL Central and the rest of the league?

    The Cubs now sit five games over .500 with a winning percentage of .619. This would be leading four other divisions in baseball, but places them in fourth in the dominant Central.

    I know this could easily be perceived whining, but I don’t care about that. Its stinkin’ April and, as a Cubs fan, my concern doesn’t kick-in until August just before the meaningless games in September.

    I just find if pretty surprising how strong the top four teams appear. And where did the Reds come from!?

    Will Roger Clemens join the NL Central dominance or will the tough competition push him to his AL suitors?

    What is up with Bronson Arroyo and Greg Maddux? (Did I miss any other NL Central surprises?)

    I’m just stirring conversation. And perhaps there’s no demand for it. But I’m disappointed I missed out on the 52 comment conversation Joe started on the military.

    Happy Friday,
    DeJon

  11. Terry Austin Says:

    Wake me when the NL Central brings home a world championship…

    (Petty jealousy from an NL West fan.)

    The Reds will fade soon enough. The Astros seem strong candidates to do the same. (Clemens could change that in a hurry.)

    The Cubs have the worst hitting player in MLB history. (The Mendoza Line will soon be renamed The Neifi! Number.) The Cards have the most overrated “(s)crappy” player in league history. (I’m looking at you, David Eckstein, and by the way, please return that throwing arm to the Little League field from which you stole it.) The Cubs and Cards made equally yucky offseason outfield acquisitions (Jones & Encarnacion).

    The Cubs’ pitching, when fully healthy, may make it interesting, but I believe the NL pennant will ultimately go to the Cards or the Mets. The Cubs have to overcome the brilliance of Johnnie B. Baker, and that won’t be an easy thing.

    As for the NL West… is there such a thing as a Quadruple-A league?

  12. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Hey, buddy. Step away from David Eckstein. I seem to recall you proudly wearing a Brett Butler shirt, back in the day.

    And get outta Dusty’s grill, too. At long last, have you no loyalty?

    The nearest thing the Cards have to Andujar for raw entertainment value is Jason Marquis on the basepaths. (Is Marquis still there? I’m not a Cards fan.)

  13. Michael Lasley Says:

    Marquis on the bases may be one of the ten greatest happenings in all of sports. The Cards are a mystery. The other day they started 3 position players batting under .200. Their pitching and Pujols aren’t strong enough to carry them, I fear.

    Dejon — there are a couple of Dodgers fans who read the site that I know of. At least one of whom would like for someone on their pitching staff to borrow the arm Eckstein stole from a little leaguer before he returns it.

    I’m not sold on Baker’s managing abilities. Since, you know, he actually gives Neifi at bats. On a fairly regular basis. And seems to have confidence in the guy.

  14. Terry Austin Says:

    Anybody see that routine play at short in last night’s Cards game? The one where 98% of the shortstops would’ve thrown out the runner? But Eck couldn’t do it. I feel for him, I really do. But his 15 minutes are up. He’s Marty Barrett. He’s Quilvio Veras. He’s Kevin Stocker and Heinie Sand, for gol don don!

    But Eckstein can borrow another arm from the Cubs starters, especially the promising ones (I’m weeping for you, Mark Prior) whose futures were ruined by Dusty’s Lasordian tendency to leave them out there for, oh, 140 pitches per outing. Dusty is a bad, bad manager who gets paid like a great one.

    By the way, you must put the exclamation point at the end of Neifi! — it’s a requirement.

    Whose rotation you talkin’ about, Mikey? Granted, our boob of a GM went out and actually paid for Brett Tomko, but the other guys are reasonably solid so far. As long as they keep Derek Lowe away from the female broadcasters and Odalis Perez away from Denny’s, pitching will be OK. Of course, Gagne’s toast.

  15. Michael Lasley Says:

    Oh, I was just being silly, Terry — it was the baseball equivilent of, yeah, well, your mama. Except I happen to like your mom, so I went with, yeah, well, your starting pitching. The starting pitching for the Dodgers is pretty good this year. Last night it was phenominal. I just don’t see Eckstein as a player worthy of ire. He’s not great, but he does his job. He plays hard and is a good teammate, it seems. He knows he doesn’t have Furcal’s arm at short, but it’s not like he advertises himself as the greatest thing ever.

    I didn’t know about the ! in Neifi! Agreed about Dusty. He seems clueless. Even about things such as putting a lineup together. Although it is fun when he starts doing double switches in the 5th inning, taking the best bat in the lineup out of the lineup. When your team is already down by 2 or 3 runs.

  16. Terry Austin Says:

    I knew you were being silly. (When aren’t you?) But being an alleged liberal, I try to never miss a chance to attack someone.

    I think my anti-Eck stance may be similar to the Cubs guys’ anti-Pujols sentiment. He seems like a nice guy and he’s gettin’ the job done. So I hate him. (But I don’t hate Pujols. Strange, eh?)

    Right now, I wish Eck had Furcal’s arm at SS, because Furcal stinks out loud. Can’t field, can’t throw, can’t hit. I guess he can still run, but it’s mostly running from the plate back to the dugout.

    For the record, the only Dodger winter moves I supported: signing Bill Mueller, and trading for Jae Seo. (Actually, I *did* call for a Nomar signing, but I wanted him to be the SS until Izturis returned, then move to 3B.) The Dodgers blew it when they didn’t hire Kim Ng as GM.

    Neifi! and Ichiro! have the exclamation points.

    Dusty, LaRussa, and (now) Grady Little seem to feel the need to prove they’re smarter than everybody else. The other night, Little double-switched JD Drew out of the Dodgers lineup in an extra-inning game in Houston, even though Drew’s the Dodgers’ best offensive threat right now. Drew was replaced by Ramon Martinez. The Dodgers lost that game… go figure.

  17. Michael Lasley Says:

    And I knew you were being silly about my being silly, brother Austin. As a fellow liberal, I like to argue about everything. Even if I’m not overly invested in the issue, such as something about Eck. Although I am glad he’s on my team. Not sure what’s up with Furcal’s arm. I mean, he can throw it as hard as anyone, but he’s killing Nomar at first with his lack of accuracy. Nomar may turn into a good first baseman. Seems to be adjusting well. (I’m going to see them next weekend, btw, so get jealous [I think it’s next weekend, I’ll have to check my tickets — sometime soon, though, is what I’m saying].)

    Larussa annoys me. HE deserves the ire of everyone for his pompacity. Ditto for Baker. I don’t know enough about Little. He at least seems likable, from what I’ve seen. Although taking Drew out is way stupid, as he is the best bat in your line-up right now. Or was until Nomar came back.

    I didn’t know about Ichiro!, either. Are you making things up? At least Ichiro! can hit.

  18. Terry Austin Says:

    The worst managers seem to be guys who develop (or earn) a good reputation early in their careers, then decide they have to maintain it by continually reinventing the wheel (TLR) or, in Dusty’s case, stubbornly refusing to try anything new or outside the box. Pure hubris.

    Jim Tracy got a bad case of it last year, and look what’s happening to him now!

    This is why I think Bobby Cox and Joe Torre are so good. It’s not that they’re master strategists; they just do what works and manage to the strengths of their rosters. No stubborn allegiance to the stolen base or sac bunt. No compulsion to bat the pitcher eighth.

  19. Michael Lasley Says:

    But if Larussa didn’t utilize the squeeze as much as he does, announcers wouldn’t be able to talk about what an aggressive manager he is. And how he keeps all the other managers guessing. Which always cracks me up. A lot of his aggressiveness isn’t necessary. Good points about Cox and Torre. That’s probably why I like both of them, even though I hadn’t actually thought about it before.

    You should start your award winning baseball blog back up, Terry. (For those around these parts who don’t know it — Terry was praised in magazines and stuff back in the early days of the blog-o-sphere for his insightful baseball insights.)

    ps — Why is it that I always get really long verification words? Seriously, I am slightly dyslexic and it takes me a few tries to get the whole word verification thingy down, and each time I miss up, they seem to add another letter to my word.

  20. juvenal_urbino Says:

    What? The Dodgers are still playing baseball? Major League Baseball? Who knew? I thought the Angels were in LA, now.

    Alls I’m sayin’ about Dusty is that the guys who’ve played for him — the ones I’ve heard, anyway — all say that he always gets the most out of every player on the roster and never lets his teams give up. To me, anybody who can do that in the modern era is well out in front of most managers. As for the Cubs’ young pitchers, weren’t their arms ruined before Dusty even rolled into town?

    Lasorda, ISTM, doesn’t deserve that reputation, either. From the mid-70s through to about 1990, the Dodgers had incredibly good and incredibly durable pitching. All of them (or nearly all) came up through the Dodgers’ system, which means they did all their early pitching for Lasorda, and nearly all of them had long, successful careers. (Steve Howe, RIP.)

    To me, Lasorda’s weakness was his unnatural love of taking a hot bat out of the lineup in a key situation just to get a lefty-righty or righty-lefty matchup. (That’s probably where Dusty picked up the habit.) That and his tendency late in his career to make breathtaking personnel moves. Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields, anyone?

    Bobby Cox gives me hemorrhoids. He wins as much as he does because the Braves have the best GM and the best talent pipeline in the bidness, and have during Cox’s entire tenure there.

    Grady Little seems likable enough — a bumbling incompetent, but likable. Sorta like the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island.”

    Jim Tracy is what Bobby Cox’s career would look like with a dimwitted GM and an ownership change every odd-numbered year.

    Joe Torre is Italian.

    Terry is a dirty mongoose.

    Mikey is not a closer.

  21. Terry Austin Says:

    Alls I’m sayin’ about Dusty is that the guys who’ve played for him — the ones I’ve heard, anyway — all say that he always gets the most out of every player on the roster and never lets his teams give up. To me, anybody who can do that in the modern era is well out in front of most managers. As for the Cubs’ young pitchers, weren’t their arms ruined before Dusty even rolled into town?

    Dusty plays vets over kids. Of course they’re going to say nice things about him when he props up their flagging careers by playing them when they’re well past their expiration dates.

    As for the arms — Kerry Wood yes, Mark Prior no. Dusty made the problem much worse by completely ignoring their pitch counts. He’s a meat grinder, and he learned it from…

    Lasorda, ISTM, doesn’t deserve that reputation, either. From the mid-70s through to about 1990, the Dodgers had incredibly good and incredibly durable pitching. All of them (or nearly all) came up through the Dodgers’ system, which means they did all their early pitching for Lasorda, and nearly all of them had long, successful careers. (Steve Howe, RIP.)

    Check the mileage on Hershiser, Dreifort, etc. Lasorda absolutely killed his pitchers. Geez, if you’d stop wasting time in meaningless political arguments and do something fruitful — namely, research these critical baseball facts — you’d bring a lot more to the table. 😉

    To me, Lasorda’s weakness was his unnatural love of taking a hot bat out of the lineup in a key situation just to get a lefty-righty or righty-lefty matchup. (That’s probably where Dusty picked up the habit.) That and his tendency late in his career to make breathtaking personnel moves. Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields, anyone?

    Tommy certainly recommended that deal, but he didn’t make it. (That would’ve been Fred Claire.) Tommy’s GM tenure included trading Paul Konerko (and Denys Reyes) for Jeff Shaw, as well as a handful of then-promising talent (including Ted Lilly and the ever popular Corky Guerrero) for Carlos Perez and Mark Grudzielanek.

    Bobby Cox gives me hemorrhoids. He wins as much as he does because the Braves have the best GM and the best talent pipeline in the bidness, and have during Cox’s entire tenure there.

    And Cox is smart enough to just sit there and let them, you know, play. This was my point.

    Grady Little seems likable enough — a bumbling incompetent, but likable. Sorta like the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island.”

    Grady must go. Yesterday. And he should feel free to take the guy masquerading as a GM with him.

    Jim Tracy is what Bobby Cox’s career would look like with a dimwitted GM and an ownership change every odd-numbered year.

    I liked Jim Tracy right up until he started benching Hee Seop Choi in favor of playing Jason Phillips, a horrible back-up catcher and an even worse first baseman. Neither of them is great, of course, but Choi is at least young and has some upside. Phillips is slow and has goggles. But Tracy was proving a point (to the front office) by deliberately hamstringing his team’s lineup. He should’ve been fired mid-season.

    By the way… Dejon’s dog is named Sheff? I hope that’s after a street near Wrigley and not after Gary Sheffield. This reminds me of Tommy Lasorda’s great quote after someone called Daryl Strawberry a dog:

    “Don’t ever call him a dog. That’s unfair. A dog is loyal and runs hard after balls.”

  22. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Disclaimer: I’m not quite enough of a wanker to spend my time poring over baseball stats, so everything I say on the subject is based purely on memory.

    Check the mileage on Hershiser, Dreifort, etc. Lasorda absolutely killed his pitchers.

    You’re kidding, right? Dreifort? Dreifort was a losing proposition the day the Dodgers brought him up. The man could blow a ligament wiping his nose, and, when it comes down to it, who really cares? He can’t reliably find the strike zone even when he’s healthy, and never could. I don’t care how “live” your arm is, if you can’t throw a strike when you need one, you’re useless. An early end to Dreifort’s career just saves the Dodgers from flushing more money down the crapper.

    I really don’t know how anybody can argue Hershiser’s career was a burnout case. He was an above average pitcher even late in his career, except for the last year or two. Just ask an Indians fan. The point on Hershiser isn’t the number of innings he pitched for the Dodgers. It’s that he pitched all those innings without constant injuries or loss of effectiveness (except due to age), and kept doing it well into his 30s. High mileage is irrelevant if it doesn’t have negative consequences.

    The strength of the Dodgers’ teams during the 70s and 80s was their pitching. Year in and year out, for a completely unreasonable number of years, the Dodgers had the best pitching in baseball, partly because their starters were not only terrific, but also among the least injured. I just don’t think one can look at the Dodgers’ pitching over the course of his career and say Lasorda was a lousy manager of pitchers.

    I liked Jim Tracy right up until he started benching Hee Seop Choi in favor of playing Jason Phillips, a horrible back-up catcher and an even worse first baseman. Neither of them is great, of course, but Choi is at least young and has some upside.

    Remind me what that upside was, again? My recollection is that Choi couldn’t even identify a baseball, much less catch or hit one, until the last month of the season, when the pitchers were worn out. He was a clubfooted lunkhead who did exactly one productive thing: take Scott Rolen out of the Cards’ lineup for a while by being too clumsy and slow to get out of Rolen’s way. Phillips was the more reliable producer on offense, and no worse on defense.

    Tell me you’re not really basing managerial arguments on Darren Dreifort and Hee Seop Choi.

    Tommy certainly recommended [the Pedro for DeShields deal], but he didn’t make it.

    True, but he made no secret of the fact that he thought Pedro would never amount to much, due to his build. (This while clinging like an ugly spinster to brother Ramon, who had a taller version of the same build, actually did wear out early, and whom Pedro, in one year as a reliever, had already outshined in the talent department, as everybody but Tommy knew.)

    Dusty plays vets over kids.

    If your notion of kids who ought to have gotten a better shake is people like Dreifort and Choi, I’ll line up on Dusty’s side of that one.

    How ’bout that NFL draft?

  23. Terry Austin Says:

    Jane, you ignorant slut…

    Research. Research. Research.

    You do remember that Orel’s shoulder had to be completely rebuilt after that magical ’88 season, right? They had to borrow ligaments from all 8 of his Mormon wives.

    Dreifort’s once-promising career was derailed by Lasorda going to the whip very early in Dreifort’s (middle relief) career. The LA Times had a piece on this just the other day.

    Thanks to clubfooted lunkheads like Dusty Baker and Jim Tracy, who chose retreads like Eric Karros and Jason Phillips over a young, cheap, productive player, we may never know how good Choi can be. And Dusty’s choices always tilt more towards “savvy” vets like Tom Goodwin (he was Neifi! when Neifi! wasn’t cool) than a younger, more talented (if unproven) player. The only time Choi’s been given regular playing time (w/ the Marlins), he’s produced.

    On Pedro: Lasorda and Frank Jobe were the co-conspirators, with Jobe saying Pedro could never withstand the torque he generated with his pitching motion. Pedro for Delino: a trade that will live in infamy.

    When you called me a mongoose, were you attacking me? I don’t know why you libs always go personal with everything… 😉

    The NFL draft… now there’s a solution to our military issues. But start with hockey and the NBA, please. Those are caricatures of sports anyway; nobody will miss them.

  24. juvenal_urbino Says:

    You do remember that Orel’s shoulder had to be completely rebuilt after that magical ’88 season, right?

    At age 31. Is there a consistently #1 or #2 starting pitcher in the league who doesn’t have arm trouble around that age? Okay, Roger Clemens. My point is: it ain’t unusual.

    Besides, looking at a few numbers, Orel’s career in the 80s doesn’t look out of line, to me. I glanced at a couple of other pitchers in that era that popped into my head: Doc Gooden threw more innings than Orel, and the practically fossilized Tom Seaver tossed 230 or so innings/yr.

    I also looked at the numbers for some of the other Dodgers pitchers in that era. The only one with IP numbers that looked startlingly high was Fernando.

    Plus, Orel went on after his surgery to throw for another 10+ yrs. (1645 innings), with a 105-85 record and another post-season MVP award. That doesn’t strike me as chewed up.

    His career didn’t look anything like Darren Dreifort’s or Kerry Wood’s or Mark Prior’s. Dreifort, especially. That guy has never produced.

    Dreifort’s once-promising career was derailed by Lasorda

    Malarkey. Dreifort was never more than promising because he never was more than a “live arm.” He couldn’t pitch. He looked like he ought to be able to pitch, but he couldn’t. (Just like Choi looked like he ought to be able to hit, but couldn’t.) Being a big, strong kid who throws (or swings) hard is not the same thing as being a pitcher (or hitter). Dreifort had great stuff, but he couldn’t control it. That was his problem; not throwing too many innings.

    (Looking at his numbers, btw, it doesn’t look to me like he was even pushed all that hard. Never threw more than 63 innings the first 4 yrs. he appeared in the bigs [compare to Gooden or Valenzuela], and still hasn’t thrown 200.)

  25. Al Sturgeon Says:

    I agree with both Terry and Juvenal: Albert Pujols really is good, and it is refreshing to see a star recognize his grandstanding made him look disrespectful to the game of baseball.

    WHAT’S UP WITH THIS DODGERS BLOG?!?!

    Just kidding. I’m actually enjoying your little argument (even though I’ve never once heard of Dreifort – wasn’t he a broadcaster on MNF?).

  26. Terry Austin Says:

    Nope. He’s the opposite of a “WETfort.”

    There’s your punch line. Now make up your own joke.

  27. Terry Austin Says:

    From the LA Times article I referenced earlier:

    Dreifort held a copy of his 1994 game log, his rookie season. Two innings one day in mid-April, three innings two days later. Nine appearances in 13 days in late April and early May. When Lasorda called, he went. Fellow relievers advised him to refuse. By late June, he was in the minor leagues. Nine months later, he had packed his pajamas and gone to see Jobe.

    “I knew there was a stretch in there where there was a lot in a short period of time,” he said, running his finger down the printout. “Even the days I didn’t get in I remember being up in the bullpen ready to go in. Just didn’t get into the game. But, you know, it was always my option to say no. In that situation, I’m not sure that anybody would.”

    Lasorda said he didn’t recall “using him a lot.”

  28. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Albert Pujols really is good, and it is refreshing to see a star recognize his grandstanding made him look disrespectful to the game of baseball.

    Unfortunately, Al, it doesn’t seem to have stuck. I saw him toss his bat as if he’d hit a grand slam last night (on a highlight reel). He’d drawn a walk. If he keeps that up, he’s going to lead the league in HBP.

    Two innings one day in mid-April, three innings two days later. Nine appearances in 13 days in late April and early May.

    That’s it? “I had to pitch 5 innings over the course of 3 days.” That’s the manager being a meat grinder? Sounds more like a washout making excuses.

    I don’t dispute Dreifort was rushed to the bigs. He was. But he wasn’t overworked once he got there. *He was in over his head, and frequently pitching in tough spots of his own making (21 runs in 29 innings, all earned), so maybe he overthrew to compensate. But if he was exhausted to the point of injury from throwing normally for 5 innings over 3 days, bless his heart, what kind of job could he have handled? Stuffed Animal Cuddler? Certainly not big league pitcher.

    If he wants to say being rushed to the majors contributed to his injuries — put him in situations that magnified the effect of his injury proneness on his career — I’ll go along with that. But I just don’t think it’s credible for him to claim he was overworked, and I don’t think he would’ve avoided spending a lot of time on the DL or having his career drastically shortened by injuries even if he’d been allowed to spend more (some) time in the minors.

    Lasorda said he didn’t recall “using him a lot.”

    Probably true, even if Lasorda did use him a lot. Tommy was doing a lot of sleeping by then.

    (* I haven’t seen any pitch counts on those 5 innings, or on the 29 innings he pitched that season. It’s possible, since he gave up a lot of hits and had no control, he threw an unusually high number of pitches in his innings. If so, he might have been overworked, but that’s a very different situation in which to get overworked than one where the manager is just running you out there every day because he doesn’t mind burning up young pitchers.)

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