Saturday, August 13, 2005

Update on WilkGate


A different MLB.com writer, Owen Perkins, has written a pretty long story about the Brad Wilkerson Situation. Well, I don't know if it qualifies as a Situation, capitalized, but Wilkerson was benched again tonight and---reading between the lines---he wasn't happy about it.

It only gets more interesting, as Wilkerson was originally slated to start tonight's game against the Colorado Rockies, though apparently he was included by accident:


"I feel the same," Wilkerson confirmed. "I'm ready to go. It's the manager's decision, if he wants to keep me out. They didn't ask me yesterday, so they didn't know. Today they came and asked me, and I said I'm the same as yesterday."
Robinson and bench coach Eddie Rodriguez, however, took Wilkerson's unchanged status to mean that he remained unavailable to start against the Rockies. "He didn't play yesterday, so obviously it'd be the same way," said Rodriguez. "Give him another day and continue to get treatments. We're just being careful."
A hint of controversy stemmed from the fact that Wilkerson's name was originally at the top of the lineup for Saturday's game, apparently by accident, as Robinson confirmed that based on Rodriguez's conversation with Wilkerson, he had given the outfielder a night off. "If he
came in and said he could play, he'd play," Robinson added. "Hopefully, he'll feel much better tomorrow and walk in the clubhouse and say he can play."

I'm not even going to try to make heads-or-tails of that. Well, okay; I'll try:

---> Wilkerson was benched yesterday.
---> He wasn't asked about this and was upset by it.
---> He voiced some frustration to the media.
---> Rodriguez came by today and asked him how he was.
---> Wilkerson said, "Same as yesterday"---meaning, "I was ready to go yesterday, and I'm ready to go today."
---> Rodriguez told Robinson, "Same as yesterday, he says."
---> Robinson says, "Same as yesterday? Let's bench him again."
---> Somehow Wilkerson's name appears on an "early draft" of the lineup. (Maybe this was before Wilkerson and Rodriguez spoke?)
---> Wilkerson was taken out of the lineup in favor of, presumably, Watson.
---> "A hint of controversy" emerged; in other words, Wilkerson confronted Robinson and asked what's going on.

Or something. Reading on:


Ironically, Wilkerson may disagree with Robinson's optimistic prognosis for playing on Sunday, noting that the limited preparation before the Sunday's afternoon starting time would lower his chances of feeling like his shoulder was up to speed.
"Once I get out there and get it loose, it doesn't bother me throughout the game," Wilkerson explained. "If I'm not going to play, I'm not going to play [Sunday] because we're not going to take BP and I won't have a chance to get it loose. If we can get out there and I get moving around
and get to get it loose, I feel fine."

So, continuing the recreation:

---> Robinson says, "Okay, Brad. Maybe tomorrow. We'll see how you are."
---> Wilkerson counters, "Yeah, but if it's an afternoon game, I might not get it loose in time."
---> And Robinson says, "Well, there you go."
---> To which Wilkerson asserts, "Sure, but when it's loose, it's fine. So let me get loose tonight and play."
---> When Robinson concludes, "Sorry, bub. Maybe tomorrow."

Well, that's one way it could have happened. I don't really know, of course, and I'm not trying to make Frank Robinson into a bad guy.

I'm just impressed that this much detail is provided in the MLB.com story---even if the positions taken by the parties appear couched and diluted. All in all, way to go, Owen Perkins! Journalism!


_________________

Nats win! Nats win! Gosh, that was one of the weirder games you'll see. The Rockies banged out 13 hits (and walked five times, to boot), but didn't score a single run. If he wasn't on a somewhat strict 100-or-so-pitch lease, Tony Armas, Jr. (6 IP, 8 H, 3 BB), could have put together the best terrible performance I've ever seen. As I noted over at the Yuda.org chat, that distinction belongs to John Dopson---ironically enough, a former Expos' hurler---who took an 11-hit shutout into the ninth against the Atlanta Braves on July 3, 1988. Dopson yielded four hits in the ninth, ruining the shutout. A reliever recorded the final out in Dopson's 9-2 victory.

Dopson's line:

8.2 IP, 15 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SO. Un-believ-able!

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