Sam Mellinger is sorry. Or at least semi-sorry ...
- Well, whoops. And uh-oh. For those who don't want to click, this is about Joakim Soria being out for three to five days, at least, with a sore shoulder.
The other part of this is there are a lot of people that owe Trey Hillman at least a semi-apology, starting with me.
I wrote that Soria was a Ferrari that the Royals (Trey) were driving like a Nova, but it turns out the Ferrari had a transmission problem.
I'd wondered whether Soria was hurt,* but the Royals insisted he was healthy, so, well, you get the rest.
Now, this would all have been avoided if the Royals (Trey) had been honest about the situation.
Trey's thinking is he doesn't want to tip his hand, so to speak, or say anything that would weaken the team's position, and that's understandable, of course, but misses the point. This is not a post about the media savviness of Trey or anyone else, so we'll stop here.
The point of this post right now is that most of the questions and screams about Trey's use of the bullpen in the last week or so should be taken in a different context now.
It seems pretty silly now that I wrote about wanting the Royals to stretch Soria beyond one inning. My bad.
Trey's been playing short-handed, which explains a lot of the moves he's either made or not made. Even with the context of the Soria injury, Trey's probably taken more grief than warranted about his bullpen use.
Mellinger wrote the above last Friday. Soria hasn't pitched since last Wednesday, and it looks like he's not going to pitch any time soon. So was Soria hurt during that nine-day stretch when he didn't pitch at all, and me and Jazayerli and Posnanski were screaming about it? And if he was hurt then, why did Hillman use him for an inning against the Indians last Wednesday night?
Soria did pick up the save in that game, but he was shaky. Was he shaky because he was hurt? Or was he shaky because he hadn't pitched in nine days?
I cannot answer any of these questions precisely. Until I can, I'm not ready to offer Hillman an apology, or even a semi-apology, for all the terrible things I've been writing about him. Yes, he knows things I do not know. While I rarely acknowledge that subtext, it's always there. But at some point we, as outside observers, have little choice but to take managers at their word. When the manager says he didn't use a pitcher because it wasn't the right tactical spot for that pitcher, we have to react as if he's telling us the truth.
If he's lying? I'll defend to the death his right -- nay, his obligation to lie to us, at least occasionally. But I'm not going to apologize until I know that's what he was doing. And that he had a good reason for doing it.