Washington Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale, who was hired as a member of Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez’s staff at least in part because he has big league experience as a manager, told MLB Network Radio hosts C.J. Nitkowski and Ryan Spilborghs this winter that one thing he didn’t necessarily deal with too well when he was on the bench in Arizona in 2015-16 was the media.
“I managed through the minor leagues,” Hale explained when asked about potential pitfalls a first-time skipper might not anticipate, “... and to watch Bob Melvin handle the media, you think you’re prepared for all that stuff. But you meet with them twice a day, and you have a pregame press conference, you have a post game, and just the ability not to get frustrated with questions, because you forget, those guys are trying to do a job.
“And there was just those few times my first year that I would get frustrated maybe, didn’t answer — you think back to the answers you gave and you just should have been a little more respectful of what they’re doing, at times you get a little bit short with them, so I think that was probably the toughest thing.”
Injury questions in particular, must be frustrating for any manager, not just a first-timer, since you’re often at the mercy of trainers and the healing process, with reporters asking every day when an injured player will play.
With a number of injuries to expected everyday players like Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon, Martinez has fielded questions about progress and timelines just about every day since Spring Training, and he’s starting to get good at fielding them.
Before Monday night’s series opener in AT&T Park, Martinez was asked again about Eaton, who suffered a bone bruise in his left ankle in the home opener earlier this month after he injured the left knee and ankle in a season-ending tumble at first base in April of 2017.
Eaton’s been eligible to come off the Disabled List since last Wednesday, but when Monday night’s lineup was released, his name was once again not included.
Martinez said that this time around, they want to make sure the 29-year-old outfielder is 100% healed when he takes the field again.
“When we get him back this time, we don’t want any issues, we want him to go out there and play and not worry about anything,” the manager explained.
He declined to offer a timeline for Eaton’s return, which is probably smart.
“It’s up to him and the training staff,” Martinez said. “Like I said, I’m going to write his name in the lineup when they tell me he’s ready to go.”
“I want them to come tell me he’s ready to play, and we’ll go from there,” he added.
Well, played, Davey. It sounds like he’s getting the hang of this gig. Now if the Nationals can just get healthy... Speaking of which, when is Daniel Murphy going to be back? And will Eaton be back tonight?