The Reds are one of the early success stories of the 2010 season, but their impressive 26-20 mark atop the NL Central hasn’t stopped some observers (well, SI.com’s Tom Verducci) from continuing to cite Dusty Baker’s history of abusing young arms. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daughtery takes a different tact, praising Baker for removing Homer Bailey in the 3rd inning of Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Cleveland, sneering, “the CW on Baker as an arm-killer has been uttered so often, it™s all but assumed. It doesn™t matter that it made little sense when it originated and less sense now.”
Baker didn™t ruin Kerry Wood™s arm. Wood arrived with lousy mechanics and a violent delivery. He was Rob Dibble.
His arm was going to bust no matter who was ordering it around. He and Prior pitched their arms off in 2003, because the Cubs were under tremendous pressure to win their first pennant in 58 years. They were going to ride their two young horses hard, to that end. Baker didn™t act alone in going to that whip.
Harang? It was wrong that Baker pitched him three times in seven days, including that ill-fated four-inning relief stint in San Diego. But that was two years ago this week. Nothing is physically wrong with Harang.
Volquez? He threw 196 innings in ™08 and never stopped pitching, to stay in shape for the World Baseball Classic. Should Baker have hired a babysitter for Volquez in the Dominican?
Homer Bailey didn™t feel any pain Sunday. He didn™t hear a pop. He described the sensation in his shoulder as œa grabbing. There™s not a pitcher on earth who doesn™t go through this. It™s just part of pitching, Bailey said. œI™ve thrown 120 pitches one day, then joked with Bryan (Price, Reds pitching coach) the next day, ˜I can throw today if you need me.™™™
With that sort of admirable attitude, the mustang needs an occasional roping. Baker did exactly that on Sunday. I™m not hearing the praise.
Bailey had a suggestion for anyone believing his manager had messed with his arm: œThose people can shut up.™™