It's good to be back covering baseball, maybe not this caliber of baseball, but its still good. Maybe I'll actually cover a win from this team. That hasn't happened much. Just a rough guesstimate but I think of the 90-odd games I covered, I think only 25 might have been wins. I'm going to have to go look that up to find out for sure.
A few things from pregame
Jeff Clement was back in the clubhouse and walking around without crutches following his knee surgery a few weeks back.
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Clement had a cotton sleeve on the knee, and a had a slight limp, but seemed in good spirits.
"I was there with him when he talked to the trainer," Riggleman said. "Basically, it's going to be a long process. He's feeling pretty good right now. He's got a lot of work to be ready for spring training."
Riggleman said that the surgery went as expected, but is proceeding with cautious optimism.
"We aren't going to really know till he gets down and squats and catches four or five days in a row and see how he reacts," Riggleman said.
I talked with catching coordinator Roger Hansen, who said Clement is already talking about getting back to work up in the Seattle area with Hansen in January.
Also on the catching front, Rob Johnson will play in the Arizona Fall League in the offseason. AA prospect Adam Moore was also supposed to play, but in his last game with AA West Tenn this season he suffered a broken thumb on his glove hand and won't be able to compete in the fall league. Others players slated to participate in the fall league our Greg Halman and Carlos Triunfel.
Riggleman's pregame meeting with media also spent some time discussing Erik Bedard and his upcoming surgery.
A columnist for another paper (hint: he's a big WSU alum) was asking a few questions about why Bedard didn't report the shoulder discomfort when he started feeling it early in the season.
"Nobody knew that," Riggleman said.
Riggleman was adamant in saying that nobody on the coaching staff and training staff knew that the arm was a problem until Bedard mentioned it after leaving his July 4th start (the last time he pitched in a game.)
"Absolutely not," Riggleman said.
Bedard told a couple writers last week that he first felt the pain back in April following his second start of the season in Tampa Bay.
"I'm glad he was talking to the writers, number one, but that was news to everybody," Riggleman said.
So why would he wait till July? Riggleman didn't know.
"I think it happens a lot, guys will pitch till the damage is done and then say my arm hurts," he said. "If they had spoken up earlier maybe they could have minimized the damage."
Riggleman cited a similar incident this season.
"Without naming names, there was another pitcher later in the year who wasn't happy with his role on the club, who spoke up and said I pitched earlier in the year and my arm was killing me," Riggleman said. "Well, nobody knew his arm was killing him."
I'd bet you my meager salary that unnamed pitchers' name rhymed with Bigel Mautista.
And Riggleman couldn't understand why these pitchers wouldn't say something, especially when it comes to their arms.
"It's a message delivered to them constantly: that if you have anything wrong we need to know as soon as possible," Riggleman said. "We can minimize the damage, we can address it, we can fix it, but they just try to pitch through it."
It's a mindset you can respect on some level. It's one thing for a player to buck up with a sore leg, or fight through a game with tight back, but when you're a pitcher, there's no need to be hero with your arm - it is your livelihood.
"He didn't want to make any excuses and just let people criticize him," Riggleman said. "I think its admirable that he was pitching in pain, but I wish he had said something earlier."
Riggleman pointed to the recent news that Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum is going to have Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2009 season.
"How long has his arm been hurting? I doubt if anybody knew his arm was hurting. you dont' just go from 100 percent to Tommy John Surgery," Riggleman said. "That thing had to be hurting and he's not saying anything to anybody. If you're looking at rotator cuff surgery, labrum surgery, Tommy John surgery, that doesn't happen in one day, that's wear and tear over time," Riggleman said. "And that wear and tear means there must have been some considerable pain that you are pitching through. Very few of them did it on one pitch and everybody knew about it."
As somebody who recently tore his ulnar collateral ligament (the Tommy John ligament), Riggleman is right.
I need to kind of think of this Bedard injury for a little bit before really offering up an opinion about it.