Via Mark Feinsand, dig these comments from Yankees GM Brian Cashman yesterday on abusing pitchers -
“I guess this will give me a little bit of a forum because a lot of people took shots a little bit, and rightfully so, because they weren’t willing to call me and ask me the questions about how some people refer to me as a hypocrite because of Scott Proctor and stuff like that. If you want to get Joe Torre on the phone, you’ll know I’m not a hypocrite. I dealt with our pitching coach, I dealt with our manager, we have new people here that utilize people a certain way now.
“These guys aren’t finite assets out there. There’s a very limited group of people capable on a consistentbasis of performing at the major league level at a high level of success so you can’t put your assets in jeopardy and you can’t overuse them or you lose them. Form my perspective, from the front office or if you’re a player development director or a scouting director, trying to find replacements for those, we work 12 months a year to do that on a yearly basis and it’s not easy. It’s definitely not easy. When you have someone of quality that make it all the way and you have hopes to have them for an extended period of time, you have to use them properly. That’s all. I’m talking on a general basis.
“I think the game has evolved and grown and people have learned over time, including us and ourselves.People ask, did we have players here as me as GM who were overused. Yes. But if you ask those players, if you ask the manager, if you want to go ask Joe Torre, did I meet with Joe? Yes. Did I meet with our pitching coach? Yes. When they said the same answer which obviously you heard when this became public, ‘Well, I asked the player every day, if he was okay.’
“You have to understand these players are competitors. They’re never going to say no. It’s just the way they’re wired. So you pay people to know the answer; I’m not paying a pitcher to be the pitching coach, for instance. Or the manager. I’m paying the pitching coach to be the pitching coach. So, I met with Proctor and said, ‘You better stop telling the manager this because the way he manages’ – I’m not criticizing Joe, that’s just the way he is – ‘he wants an honest answer. Just tell him no.’
“There were a number of guys when I could not convince the manager and the pitching coach that this was the wrong approach, these guys are competitors, they’re going to be John Wayne for you. They’re notgoing to disappoint their teammates, they’re not going to disappoint you, they’re not going to disappoint the fans. You have to have the knowledge enough to know that you’ve got to back off this guy, because hewon’t be honest with you, he’ll lie to you even if he’s dragging knuckles. So I met with those individual players and said, ‘You are hurting your career.’ I covered all the bases on my end.
“There’s no hypocrisy here. If the player is unwilling to say what it is, the GM covered it with him, had conversations with pitching coaches or managers, that’s stuff I don’t have to worry about now going forward. The crew we have, they’re understanding. I’m not saying – I’m just saying that’s the way it is. The game, with expansion and stuff, these assets are not finite. They’re just – we have to – that’s my philosophy. That’s how I’ve evolved. That’s how I’ve grown. That’s how I’ve handled those prior players.
“If you want to confirm to see I’m full of it, you can check with our former manager, you can check withour former pitching coach, you can check with those players, I don’t really care. That’s what happened.
“And I did answer the question honestly on the Mets stuff, but I’m not throwing hand grenades their way, not on purpose, anyway. If there was anything inappropriate, it was my honesty. It certainly wasn’t meant to be bad.
“But I feel bad for Pedro. This guy is a guy who is not afraid of pitching in New York, he’s not afraid of pitching in this environment and he’s not afraid of taking the ball and he is a warrior and a competitor and right now he can’t compete because of an injury he sustained with the New York Yankees in spring training. And he was never hurt with the Mets, but you know, it is what it is.”
I hope someone does get Joe Torre on the phone. Or, better yet, someone call Don Zimmer and ask him for a quote or two on this one. Let the feathers fly!