Dating back to last summer, there’s been a lot of talk about Jerry Narron “hating” Edwin Encarnacion. I’ve joined in some of it, but never really believed it 100%. EE sat the bench for entirely too long last summer, but it was at a time when he was coming back from injury, and when both Hatteberg and Aurilia were hitting the ball well, so the lack of playing time could be explained away as a (misguided, but typical) preference for veterans, as opposed to some personal beef with EE. Plus, Narron always seemed to say the right things, about EE being promising, hard-working, etc.
But now, I’m really confused. Rosecrans’ excellent sidebar about Brandon Phillips’ lack of hustle last night has me a little chippy. If you recall, Phillips thought he had a home run in the 8th last night, and brok into his trot. The ball bounced off the wall, and by picking up the pace around 2nd, Phillips got a triple out of it.
Narron had some words for Phillips as he walked from third to the dugout after the inning was over, but the Reds manager did allow Phillips back on the field to finish the game.
“I told him I was thankful he made it to third base, because I would have hated for him to not been in there in the ninth inning,” Narron said. “I thought it was out. The only thing I can tell you is, as long as guys get the bases they’re supposed to get, that’s all I ask for.”
That’s all he asks for? Last week, there was a different standard for EE:
“I don’t care if we lose every game, we’re not going to play guys who don’t hustle. It’s as simple as that,” Narron said after last Wednesday’s game with the Diamondbacks.
By the Encarnacion standard, EE was (properly, IMO) benched. But now, there’s a new standard, where “as long as you get the bases you’re supposed to get,” there’s no consequences. It’s purely outcome-oriented; no harm, no foul.
That, of course, makes me ask: Did EE’s lack of hustle on a (caught) popup cost him any bases? He got zero, exactly the same as if he’d ran it out.
Then, you have EE riding pine for the second straight game tonight – immediately after he broke out of his 0 for 22 slump with a huge RBI base-hit on Monday. And Will Carroll’s report that EE might be on the trading block.
I can see Narron having a different standard for Griffey, who rarely hustles and pulled the exact same stunt as Phillips about 10 days ago. But if anything, Phillips’ hot dog routine last night was more egregious than EE’s last week. EE clearly didn’t know whether the ball was fair or foul. Phillips was pure Cadillac, and he should’ve presumably learned from EE’s example last week.
Poor form by Jerry Narron, IMO. EE’s one of the top 2-3 hitters on this club, which doesn’t have very many. Keeping him on the bench and screwing with his head isn’t going to help this club win games.