Don Malcolm has an interesting analysis of the 2004 Red Sox over at Baseball Primer. He isn’t convinced that Boston is as good as many people think they are. Sadly–and I’m not being facetious—Nomar Garciaparra was placed on the DL (joining Trot Nixon) with Achilles’ tendinitis:
“It will be three weeks without playing in games, for sure,” Epstein said. “It’s similar to Trot’s situation. The whole point of an aggressive rest and rehab routine like this is to knock the injury out. It’s a long season. It’s a long career. We want to make sure we put this behind us so it doesn’t become more chronic.”
…”The doctor ordered a lot of rest and sitting on my couch,” Garciaparra said. “He says he’ll talk to me once a week. I’m sure it’ll be more to make sure I am sitting on my couch, which I will be. It’ll definitely be hard, but I’ll be cheering them on.”
Behind the plate, a section full of scouts scratched their heads. Martinez had touched 90 mph on just a couple of fastballs. He delivered them from an arm slot noticeably lower than the Pedro of old.
“I could never give that guy a three-year contract,” said one scout. “He’s got two years left in him. Tops.”
…Pitching coach Dave Wallace chalked it all up to a case of the “spring-training yips.”
“He’s just anxious to get going and get through spring training,” Wallace said. “I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff happen this time of year.”
But this was, in reality, as strange as it gets. And Martinez’s body language had communicated real frustration — such as the time he got so irritated over not getting a low strike call from plate ump Marty Foster that he caught Varitek’s toss back to the mound with his bare hand.
Never a dull moment with Martinez and the Red Sox, huh? Yankee fans should resist the temptation to feel smug here. I suspect that Boston and New York will go back-and-forth sending players to the DL during the season. Like Boss George says, it’s how you finish that counts.