I was prepared for problems with both Shawn Hill and John Patterson this Spring, (though not prepared for Patterson's departure, more on that in a minute), but I was not prepared for the shock I felt momentarily when I read the headline today proclaiming that Washington righty Tim Redding had suffered back spasms and been removed from the mound in the middle of an inning during today's Easter Sunday affair with the Florida Marlins.
Now normally this news would have launched me into paroxysms of defeatist rhetoric, but instead as I read the reports I was soothed by the calming influence of the Nationals' Manager Manny Acta, who was quoted in MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Redding injures back, leaves game", calmly stating:
"'Obviously, you have to be concerned, but we have options this year. It gives you more peace of mind,' Acta said. 'Maybe somebody will have to pitch with an extra day of rest. That's about it.'"
Isn't that honestly reassuring? What I found interesting was the list of pitchers Mr. Ladson then listed, as he wrote, "...the Nationals can rely on their prospects such as right-handers Collin Balester, Tyler Clippard, Garrett Mock and Mike O'Connor to help sometime during the season."
I assume John Lannan's not included in that list because he hasn't officially been reassigned to any Minor League affiliate, but Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga wrote just the other day in a post entitled, "And your Opening Day starter is..." on his "Nationals Journal" blog, that:
"...it seems pretty clear the Nationals have already tabbed him (Lannan) to start the season in Class AAA Columbus, with Matt Chico winning the last spot in the rotation."
As for Tim Redding, Mr. Svrluga reports at his washingtonpost.com blog, in a more recent "Nationals Journal" post entitled,"Redding: "I'm going to be ready" that Redding may have been injured running out a bunt an inning before he left today's game, and the post quotes Mr. Redding who provides his own diagnosis:
"There's a noticeable bulge, I guess. It just feels like it's a knot, nothing major, day-to-day. It could go away tomorrow. It could be there a day or two and then go away. It's a muscle spasm."
As for today's game, Redding gave up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk in 3.1 IP before leaving the game with the Nationals down 4-2, the score by which they eventually lost to the Marlins. Relievers Ray King, Chad Cordero and Eude Brito combined for 4.2 scoreless with only Brito surrendering a hit to the Marlins. Cristian Guzman collected his 11th RBI of the Spring with a sac fly off Florida starter Rick VandenHurk and ended the day batting .296 in Grapefruit League games. Lastings Milledge was 2 for 4 with a run scored. Aaron Boone 2 for 3, Nick Johnson 1 for 4, and Ronnie Belliard was 0 for 3, but he's still hitting .383...
Tomorrow it's Washington vs Detroit as the Tigers travel to Space Coast Stadium, in sunny Viera, Florida, the Nationals' Spring home, where Jason Bergmann will take the mound against the Tigers' Nate Robinson. 1:05 pm start...MLB's Gameday Audio should have the game...and XM Radio has Tuesday's game against the Cardinals...
Oh...and as for the aforementioned John Patterson news, Newark Star-Ledger baseball writer Dan Graziano mentions Patterson's release in his "Weekly Bottom Three" feature of his Sunday Sports page column entitled, "Dan Graziano on MLB", in which Mr. Graziano writes:
"3. John Patterson- Last year, he was the Nationals' Opening Day starter. This week, they released him. Tough fall. Not even 2007 Yankees Opening Day starter Carl Pavano has been released. Of course, you can't release a guy who's on the disabled list."
Now, first of all, I'll say that I applaud the possessive apostrophe attached to the "...Nationals' Opening Day starter,"...but I have to wonder about the lack of an apostrophe with the Yankees'?...(ed. query- "Is there some rule of baseball writing I remain unaware of at work here?")
...But more importantly why bring up Carl Pavano when discussing the release of yet another Expos' prospect in Patterson, and only compound the pain DC/Montreal fans are feeling by bringing up one of the two players (Pavano and Tony Armas) Montreal received in return for Pedro Martinez, when they traded their Cy Young Award-winning starter to Boston in 1997, the year after he'd first earned the distinction as baseball's best...
Thanks for ruining my Easter breakfast...