Honestly, how many times is Joe Girardi going to get caught in outright lies about the physical condition of his players? Now, according to most New York media outlets, Mariano Rivera returned to New York to get his shoulder examined and, according to George King of The New York Post, might need surgery to clean out bone spurs. Whether or not he does, Mariano clearly did not return to New York because of a “cranky body.” He’s not in need of some bran or a nap. He has an arm problem of some kind, but Girardi yet again lied to the New York media and the rest of us about it. For what benefit? Was it somehow a mystery that Mariano would pitch the 9th inning of the last game in Yankee Stadium? This yet again raises serious questions about Girardi’s aptitude and judgment, not simply his PR skills. What did he know about this and when? Did he know about a potential arm problem while Mariano was pitching four times in five games? If so, since the Yankees had almost no shot at the post-season, why was he out there? This isn’t the author pitching, it’s Maaaaariiiiiaaaaannooooo Riiiiiveeeeeraaaaa, the greatest closer eeeeeveeeeerrrrr. According to Pete Abraham, Girardi got so petulant at the media’s questioning him on the misleading statements that he slammed “his fist down on his desk.” Awww, poor baby, caught in another lie.
This is a manager about whom it was reported that he and Eiland had daily briefs about pitchers’ status, workload, and condition every day. Again, considering the point of the season and the player involved, the greatest closer in baseball history, what the hell was the point of lying? Disgraceful, and it calls into focus a whole range of possible second-guessing on Girardi’s in-game managing. Is he telling people the truth about why he did things he did? Did he lie about why he pulled pitchers and players, why he did or didn’t use certain players (which he has already done), why he did or didn’t put on or take off certain plays (was he paying enough attention or fully aware of history and/or the situation)? Is he simply prone to lamely covering his own ass? Personally, I doubt he’s clueless or incompetent, just apt to lie for whatever reason. Absolutely disgraceful.
What will he tells us next, that his year managing in Florida provided him with foreign-policy experience because of Miami’s proximity to Cuba? Now that would simply be crazy.
[Edit: Via Abraham, here is a new wrinkle in the Girardi-Mariano story. Girardi still was lying, though covering for Mariano. OK, it makes sense, but after Cashman let the truth be known, be honest with people Joe G, promise to Mariano or not. It's nice for him to cover for a player, which was apparent as of yesterday, but he has a bad history with handling. More amazing, how much more impressive is Mariano's 2008 in light of his statement that he's had a sore shoulder ALL YEAR? Abraham:
Just spoke to Mariano Rivera. He has been been pitching with a sore shoulder all season. There is inflammation and calcification. He has been given two options: a series of injections and rehab or surgery. He has not made a decision but seems to be leaning toward the surgery.
As to the events of last night …
Rivera told Girardi on Tuesday that his body was cranky. He told him on Wednesday before he left Toronto that his shoulder was hurt. Mariano told Girardi he wanted to break the news to the media. Mariano is the kind of guy who doesn’t want anybody speaking for him.
So Girardi invented the “it’s his standard physical” story. But Cashman went with the truth. When Girardi was confronted with the truth after the game, he stuck with his lie.
The whole thing likely could have been avoided if they all managed to get on the same page in the first place. Once the cat was out of the bag, Girardi should have copped to it. Once the general manager of the team admits the truth, it’s out there. Kudos to Girardi for doing what Mo wanted. But they needed to find a better way to do it.
Essentially, none of that much matters. What does is that Rivera believes he will be ready for spring training. Meanwhile, it’s pretty amazing that he has had the season he has had with a bum shoulder.]