WASHINGTON, D.C.: Washington Nationals’ Pitching Coach Mike Maddux talked this past winter about players having “to be accountable in [their] availability,” when it comes to dealing with injuries.
He was discussing Koda Glover trying to pitch through a hip issue which was bothering the hard-throwing right-hander late last season.
“He’s trying to push through it, it hurts, but, ‘Man, I can go,’” Maddux said.
“And we always talk about accountability, and I tell the players that — of course Koda wasn’t in Spring Training with us, so he had to kind of learn this a little different way, but, ‘How do you feel today?’ ‘I feel good, I can pitch.’ And I say, ‘You know what, I can go out there and pitch. I ain’t going to be worth a damn, and I’m not going to help the ballclub. So you have to be accountable in your availability.
“‘Yeah, I can pitch today too, Koda. I can pitch, can you pitch?’ And it finally came down to, ‘I can’t help the team.’”
Glover acknowledged he was dealing with the injury, which ended up being diagnosed as a torn labrum in his left hip. He opted for rehab rather than surgery.
Glover acknowledged that he was young and needed to learn the difference between being hurt and legitimately injured, and when he is injured, admitting that there is a problem.
“That’s what I’m learning to do because I’ve never been able to do that,” Glover said.
“I’ve always pitched hurt, I’ve always played hurt, that’s just how I grew up. So, it’s an adjustment, but I think I’m getting smarter and more mature about that.”
And yet... Glover took the mound this afternoon with a two-run lead with a back issue that he didn’t tell the team about, and only admitted it after he gave up two runs in the ninth, in a blown save in what ended up a 6-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Glover gave up a leadoff home run by Shin-Soo Choo on a 1-1 change that tailed back inside on the left-hander, gave up a single by Elvis Andrus, a walk to Adrian Beltre, and then a game-tying two-run double on a 97 mph 1-1 fastball up high outside to Nomar Mazara, who nearly hit it out.
He got a double play on a fly to right when Bryce Harper threw a strike home on what would have been a sac fly if not for the throw, and was done for the day after a total of 18 pitches, 11 of them strikes.
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker was asked about Glover’s outing after the game.
“He was getting the ball up,” Baker said, “and afterwards he said — he admitted — he should have told me or us before the game, you know — he said his back was really locked up, we didn’t know it. He’s frustrated and we’re frustrated because we can’t keep him healthy and 100% right now and we don’t know why.”
“This morning I was taking a shower,” Glover explained, “bent over to get my body wash, stood up, had a little kink, with some issues I had lately, I kind of pushed myself, I didn’t want to take a day off, I had had three days off already, so I pushed the limits today, tried to pitch through it and it’s one of those things where it was out of my control, and I should have said something early, I didn’t, and now my back is in pretty bad shape.”
Glover said he was frustrated that he’s been dealing with injury issues since the end of last season, with the hip landing him on the DL again this season, before he came back and claimed the closer’s role.
“That’s what I’m frustrated with,” he said. “I’m tired of being hurt, never been hurt before until last year, and ever since then it seems like something new keeps popping up every day, so it’s one of those things where I can’t control it, I just got to put my head down and keep going.”
“It’s just been a variety of different things,” Baker said, sharing in his closer’s frustration with the issues affecting the reliever.
Asked if the injury would cost Glover any time, he said he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know, because we’re in this long streak and we need everybody we can have,” Baker told reporters.
“So we have to go back and reassess the situation and then it’s not a very pleasant situation, so you just have to reassess it and try to come up with some answers.”
Glover said he really didn’t know how or if it affected his performance today.
“I mean the adrenaline was going too much, I don’t think the back really restricted me, the ball was up a little bit, stuff was flat, so it was a little bit to do with — but it was more of when I came out, sat down, and then tried to get back up. It locked up, so I’ve been having nagging pain all day, I tried to push through it and I shouldn’t have.”