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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Spare You, Spare Me
2006-05-30 06:26
by Jon Weisman

More and more, the Brad Penny blowup becomes less about the easily talked-out shouting match and more about how much pain he was pitching in Monday, how secretive he was being and how much risk he was taking.

"That's probably the slowest I've thrown in my entire career," Penny told Allison Ann Otto of the Press-Enterprise.

Then, there's this from Tony Jackson of the Daily News. On the one hand, Dodger manager Grady Little "downplayed" Penny's injury. On the other, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt indicates that the team didn't really know what they were downplaying.

"If anybody is ever hurt bad enough that he can't pitch, we won't pitch him," Little said.

Honeycutt also seemed surprised Penny had characterized his injury as being so severe.

"What (Penny) told us was that his arm wasn't 100 percent," Honeycutt said. "Part of their (players') responsibility is that they have to be honest with us. They have to be able to answer the question of whether they can go or not go. ... That (tirade) isn't something I condone. That wasn't a professional way to handle it by any means."

This story is dovetailing too well with the return of Eric Gagne. Last month on, I wrote about Gagne, who has often seemed to seek out winds he could throw caution to, but the message applies rather generally :

Even with the promise that the worst has to be behind them, it's time to play it safe. Gagne has been one of the most reliable relievers in Dodgers history, but if anything has become clear, it's that he cannot be trusted to monitor his physical condition. The Dodgers training staff should draw similar skepticism.

This isn't meant to be an insult. No one's saying this stuff is easy. But given that it's not easy, isn't it time that everyone involved started to take it easy? If the past two seasons have been the Dodgers' idea of being careful with Gagne, isn't it time to redefine what "being careful" means?

Between the lines, baseball's biggest sinner is the malingerer: the guy who doesn't run out a ground ball, the guy who asks for a day off to nurse the sniffles. But when you think about it, perhaps some cross words should be directed at the chronic gamer, the player who can't see that he needs to rest until it's too late.

For all the misfortune the Dodgers have endured since their last World Series title in 1988, Gagne was a gift. He was an off-the-radar minor leaguer with the modest potential to become an average starting pitcher, who instead became baseball's greatest reliever this side of Mariano Rivera. The Dodgers got a break in Gagne. They could use some more. But they also need to make their own breaks.

It's time to get real. It's time for everyone - Gagne included - to stop living on hope, to stop looking at Gagne as a superhero. Impatience is like kryptonite for a stubborn competitor like Gagne. If there is to be a next chapter in his career, it's time to be open about the pain and let the guy heal. Completely.

At the risk of this becoming a tirade, I'm staying on the Dodgers' case. Given their history, the Dodger staff and players, especially the players, need to understand how often playing in pain leads to decreased performance at a minimum, if not more serious, debilitating injuries.

Just because it's sometimes productive and occasionally heroic doesn't make it right. Every day isn't the ninth inning against Oakland in 1988.

In the end, I think all I'm asking for is a better culture of honesty. It goes without saying that I can't judge who is healthy enough to play for the Dodgers. But unless the Dodger players and staff are open with each other, they're not able to judge either.

Comments (58)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-05-30 07:01:35
1.   Sam DC
Here in DC, love-him-or-hate-him Jose Guillen manfully played through nagging injuries all last year. He had two strong months; three miserable months where he and the team freefalled, and this year (his contract year!!!) he's been ineffective or on the DL. I have no idea if these things are actually related, but it's easy to line them up next to each other and say hmmmm.

Continuing Hochevar Thoughts from the last thread, I can understand the view that he just wants too much money and the view that, in the long term, the team benefits from not caving in. But I really disagree with the view that Hochevar's actions were greedy or immature or somehow reflect some personality flaw that makes him undesirable. For one thing, I don't find it objectionable that prized athletes chase the money. Almost anyone would in their shoes, and it's not like he's swiping it from some other kid's backpack. More important, he's just kid handling a challenging situation with a lot of people whispering a lot of different things in his ear. If he acted awfully or stupidly or, most likely, arrogantly, so be it. We'd all want a second chance in those circumstances and I'd sure rather root for a team that showed some management humanity in a situation like this.

Anyhome, sign him or don't, but I sure hope the decision is made on the "do we think he'll be good enough to justify the money" merits. (Of course, along with reg, I think the answer to that almost has to be yes given the cost in dollars and draft picks of acquiring starting pitching in this league.)

2006-05-30 07:03:20
2.   tjshere
Despite the recent spate of injuries, things are looking pretty rosy right now. But if Penny really is injured and Tomko and Sele suddenly remember who they are, we're really going to be hurting for starting pitching. I sure don't care for the thought of Odalis going back into the rotation, but I'm afraid it's highly likely at some point. It would be nice to get along without Billz for as long as possible, but it's sure nice to know he's waiting in the wings as a very viable insurance policy.
2006-05-30 08:04:01
3.   bluegold
Today we should hear from the Dodgers that Penny has made an apology. There is also the possibility that no apology has been, or will be made. Then what? Does that mean Penny's days as a Dodger are numbered?
2006-05-30 08:10:38
4.   Sam DC
The Dodger Profiles guy put up Manny Mota and Darren Dreifort this weekend.
2006-05-30 09:03:03
5.   Strike4
The Angels-Kotchman saga highlights the other side of the pressure to play. How does the team physician think a player is going to play through mononucleosis? That one is even contagious, albeit unlikely, putting others on the team at risk. It's easy to see why players don't trust the team medical advice and give out glib information.
2006-05-30 09:07:35
6.   Sam DC
Not sure if this is old news to anyone but Nate, but has a pretty comprehensive archive up of scouting footage of notional top prospects - looks like at least a 100 folks, listed A-Z.

2006-05-30 09:41:44
7.   Kayaker7
5 Hey, it should be okay, as long as he doesn't kiss anyone or share drinks! ;-)
2006-05-30 09:59:46
8.   Bob Timmermann
If that's Jon's definition of a tirade, then his kids must be really well-behaved.
2006-05-30 10:00:06
9.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
If there's been a constant with the team's injury woes of the last few years, it's the training staff.
I'm still waiting to hear Stan Johnston's side of the story, starting with Odalis Perez c. 2003, right up to Penny.
2006-05-30 10:10:58
10.   Jon Weisman
8 - Um, they're kind of mediocre-behaved.

There are levels I go to well beyond tirade. Fortunately, I'm in the privacy of my own car many of those times.

2006-05-30 10:11:03
11.   capdodger
3 "Does that mean Penny's days as a Dodger are numbered?"

See 2. The Dodgers really just throw Penny by the wayside because of this.

2006-05-30 10:13:54
12.   Strike4
7, Yeah it's unlikely to catch. But I wonder how often they ever pick up the wrong Gatorade cup in the dugout.
2006-05-30 10:26:16
13.   Sam DC
Anyone ever hear of MLBAM Mosaic? Yikes!
2006-05-30 10:31:58
14.   capdodger
13 Woah... Can't wait till it comes out on Mac.

What's next for MLB.TV? Direct connections to subscriber's skulls?

2006-05-30 11:01:03
15.   bluegold
11. Well...ahh...yes, if a player puts his own interest ahead of the team's.
2006-05-30 11:11:50
16.   bhsportsguy
Some confusion on whether the deadline to sign Hochevar was midnight last night or today but according to Baseball America like to song, "its over, its over now."

2006-05-30 11:13:01
17.   Linkmeister
13 Picture-in-picture without paying $500 for a TV which will do it!
2006-05-30 11:14:10
18.   Sam DC
Nady to the DL; The Milledge called up.

2006-05-30 11:16:19
19.   D4P
Only time will tell whether The Milledge make a Lasting impression...
2006-05-30 11:37:06
20.   Andrew Shimmin
Trying to piece together what happened while I was gone--Did Kemp take Carter's spot on the roster?
2006-05-30 11:42:24
21.   Jon Weisman
20 - Yes.

2006-05-30 11:42:48
22.   Nagman
I saw Nady take a fastball in the gut the other night. Do you think that can cause the need to have an appendectomy? (I've had an appendectomy, and the pain I experienced beforehand was like nothing I had ever felt before)

20 yes. And Izzy moved to the 60 day DL (I think this is retroactive to the beginning of the season) to make room on the 40 man.

2006-05-30 11:46:56
23.   Bob Timmermann
I thought appendicits was caused by an infection. I don't see how a baseball hitting you in the stomach would cause one since your appendix isn't exactly in an easy to find spot.

It's possible that when the trainers were asking him about where it hurt and poked him and got the telltale "rebound tenderness."

(Years of watching TV medical shows have taught me that. I think I picked it up on something very realistic like "House" or "Grey's Anatomy".)

2006-05-30 11:58:26
24.   Andrew Shimmin
21, 22- Thanks.
2006-05-30 11:58:43
25.   D4P
You mean Doogie wasn't very realistic...?
2006-05-30 12:04:35
26.   Bob Timmermann
As much as I'm a fan of the work of James B. Sikking, I would have to say no.
2006-05-30 12:04:44
27.   bhsportsguy
Obviously there is a lot that goes on regarding how injuries are dealt with on various teams.

Recent history tells us that some players are very hesitant to tell their teams how they are really feeling, see Shawn Green and Steve Finley.

Given that both Jim Tracy and Mike Scioscia are going to give a lot of deference to their veteran players, was it selfish of those players to not fully disclose their conditions to their teams?

I think there is still an "old school" mentality that exists in sports that you play through injuries, images like Jack Youngblood playing in the Super Bowl with a broken ankle are often highlighted while once the stink of the term injury-prone is applied to a player, it is hard for him to get rid of it.

Add the factor of multi-million contracts, insurance policies, marketing, and even fantasy sports, gone are the days of when the DL was limited to the transactions blurb in the back of the sports page.

I think, that either Odalis should take Brad Penny's next start, that way Brad could rest until June 13th. Better yet, put him on the DL today, and bring up Chad. You can still keep him on schedule to return that week while not wasting a roster spot.

2006-05-30 12:04:50
28.   Sam DC
(waiting for Tommy Westphall reference . . .)
2006-05-30 12:11:47
29.   Jon Weisman
28 - Not feeling it here.
2006-05-30 12:14:05
30.   Sam DC
Maybe you're just imagining that you're not feeling it.
2006-05-30 12:15:49
31.   Bob Timmermann

If you say you're injury-prone, then you're stamped with the mark of J.D. Drew. And Tony La Russa will hate you forever.

2006-05-30 12:41:28
32.   3upn3down
I'm sure someone can find an even more dated example, but I have been in agreement with Jon's premise to this argument ever since Karros' 2001 season when he strong armed management and the trainers into letting him have 438 ABs. His claim prior to the all star break in '01 was that he was always a slow starter and second half hitter, and to be patient. 400+ ABs later, we were still penciling him in to the heart of our order for fear of alienating a strong willed (too strong for his own good) .691 OPS hitter, who turned out to have such a bad back, he could hardly sit in the dugout between innings.

Is this a Stan Johnston issue, or does it run deeper?

2006-05-30 12:41:49
33.   underdog
I know this has already been Griddle'd, but I just had to ask... is this the oddest baseball-related story of the year?
2006-05-30 12:56:01
34.   Sam DC
Egads, I see this deconstruction of Mike Hargrove's performance in Sunday's Mariners/Twins game linked at a Nationals' site. It's a pretty startling read: "That's right - he was having Jose Lopez, the team's best hitter to date, lay down a third consecutive sac bunt."

2006-05-30 13:01:34
35.   Sam DC
Not see, saw.
2006-05-30 13:09:28
36.   Icaros
Not teeter, totter.
2006-05-30 13:17:34
37.   autumnlanding
with regards to allstar voting:

we have a good team and the odds are with nomar probably coming in second to pujols, drew and furcal might be our only shot at having a starting representitive. looking at the ballot, i think russell martin is orders of magnitude than almost every candidtate, so i think the dodgers should start a write-in campaign.

2006-05-30 13:18:18
38.   autumnlanding
*orders of magnitude better
2006-05-30 13:23:54
39.   ToyCannon
If Depo hadn't pulled out of the original deal with the Yankee's and Diamondbacks during the winter break of 2004 then we would have had Navarro and Javier Vazquez last year and Penny and Brazoban and Green would have been gone. If we had been able to flip Javier Vazquez for Chris Young and El Duque like the Diamondbacks did I'd be a happy camper.

The final tally would have read Green/Penny/Yhancy for C Young/Navarro/El Duque. A future OF of JD/Young/Kemp or Guzman or Ethier would have been sweet. Course I'm a big C Young fan as Center Fielders with power /speed/plate discipline don't come around often.

2006-05-30 13:26:40
40.   ToyCannon
No Dodger will make the starting all-star team but Nomar will certainly be a alternative selection at 1st base. JD is having an average year right now, really nothing special. He never gets any votes and certainly won't this year. I only see one Dodger making the all-star team and it is the one player that not very many DT posters even wanted on the team.
2006-05-30 13:30:34
41.   Steve
2006-05-30 13:34:36
42.   D4P
2006-05-30 13:35:17
43.   Steve
2006-05-30 13:35:28
44.   natepurcell
I hate Boras.
2006-05-30 13:35:59
45.   ToyCannon
Lucille II?
2006-05-30 13:37:55
46.   ToyCannon
Blame Logan White for this one Nate. If he wasn't going to ante up the money for Luke then he shouldn't have wasted our pick. Everyone knew going in what Luke wanted, a 4 million bonus and a major league contract. That was the only reason he fell to our pick.
2006-05-30 13:40:17
47.   Vaudeville Villain
Anybody read that Rosenthal article on FoxSports that has us interested in Carl Crawford? Is there any explanation for why we would be even remotely interested in his services?
2006-05-30 13:42:16
48.   natepurcell
these are my thoughts on the Hochevar situation.

warning, abrasive language, be prepared

2006-05-30 13:43:25
49.   ToyCannon
Plus I would love for Seattle to waste their pick on him. They will end up with another Beltre fiasco. Bavasi should know he can't pick the pocket of the Dodgers without feeling the pain. Once Luke goes into the Seattle horror show of arm injuries he's toast.
2006-05-30 13:44:23
50.   Vishal
[45] since when do utility players ever get into the all-star game?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-05-30 13:45:04
51.   Nagman
A playing-thru-pain situation to watch is Jake Peavy. He has had shoulder pain between his last several starts and didn't throw between his last few starts and got hit pretty hard by St. Louis on Sunday (but he also had 16 K's in 7 innings the previous start).

He is one of those "gutsy" guys and usually has 1-2 stints on the DL each season. So far they are saying it is tendinitis since the pain goes away during the game. His quote was that they "will work through this."

2006-05-30 13:45:16
52.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 46

I'm not going to blame White for not wanting to deal with an agent and player who IIRC called him an out-and-out liar. The issue here wasn't about money in my view--it was about how Hochevar and Boras conducted business, or, at least, how White thought they conducted themselves. I for one would prefer that the decision be made purely on dollars/performance grounds, but I don't think it's crazy for an organization not to want to pay top dollar to a player and agent who it perceives to be profoundly unprofessional. And considering the flame-out rate of amateurs, I don't think this is by any means an indefensible move, even on purely baseball grounds.


2006-05-30 13:47:51
53.   Steve
Is there any explanation for why we would be even remotely interested in his services?

Uncle Miltie, please pick up the white courtesy phone or see your nearest gate agent. Thank you.

2006-05-30 13:48:54
54.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2006-05-30 13:49:24
55.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Well, as much as I hate losing the pick, I guess our walking away from Hochevar will send a message to future draftees--that management isn't afraid to let a pick go by.


2006-05-30 13:51:50
56.   thinkblue0
It's going to make me so happy to watch Hochevar have to sign for half of what White offered him originally.

Same thing with Weaver....gets offered a guarateed 24 mill from he'll be lucky to get half that after this season. These guys deserve what they get for dealing with Boras.

2006-05-30 14:50:27
57.   CanuckDodger
46 -- DePodesta, not White, is the guy who supposedly wanted Hochevar, according to Gurnick. Which would be consistent with rumors I heard before Gurnick's revelation that the whole Hochevar fiasco played a role in McCourt firing DePodesta.
2006-05-30 17:01:44
58.   Jon Weisman
57 - Hard to imagine that the Hochevar thing was anything more than a footnote to McCourt's turning on DePo - if that - based on the timing of the firing and all the reports that it was the managerial search, Lasorda's backtalk and the desire to erase the memory of 2005 that ultimately did DePodesta in.

Hard to imagine that McCourt even cared about the Hochevar situation. It didn't reflect poorly on the Dodgers, and it saved or postponed a big financial outlay.

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