August 31st, 2011

Shake-up – Mark DeRosa

On my way into the clubhouse today, I saw Miguel Tejada leaving. He told me he’d been reassigned, another way of saying he was cut. I didn’t know Aaron Rowand was involved, too, until I saw him packing up his locker. It’s not been an easy day.

I think we all expected something to happen after playing the brand of baseball we had been playing for the past month. It was like 30 days of the same game. Like we kept hitting the replay button. There was passion and fight, but we couldn’t get anything going. Then the boos started creeping in. Listen, we know that if we lose our fans after winning the first World Championship since 1954, we’ve lost everything.

So we knew something had to be done. And today the front office and the coaches sent us a message loud and clear: No one’s safe. If you’re not delivering, there will be changes.

Ro and Miggy found themselves in a situation where they weren’t playing much. And when you have 10-plus years in the big leagues, and you have the resumes that these guys have, it’s not easy to be on the bench day after day after day. It beats you up.

I was in a similar situation, but I had an injury so I had a built-in excuse. But no matter what the reason for sitting on the bench, you feel terrible not being out there. Then when you do go out there and don’t play well, you find yourself right back on the bench. Ro and Miggy are very good players and they’ll resurface somewhere else. No doubt in my mind. Miguel Tejada will go down as one of the best shortstops ever to play the game. I will always respect what those two guys did.

Do I think the clubhouse shake-up helped us win today? It’s possible. If so, I hope it isn’t a one-game boost. Sometimes change can be the spark you need to snap back to life. We’ll see a bunch of young guys show up Friday for September call-ups. And that energy is always a welcome lift during the last month of the regular season.

Personally I’m excited for Brett Pill, who arrived today. I was down in Fresno rehabbing my wrist for three weeks and I think I spent more time with him than with some of the guys in this clubhouse! Let me tell you, the kid can play. He deserves an opportunity. So I’m excited for him to get his shot.

It’s great to have a day off tomorrow before we face Arizona. We’re six games back, and as we showed last season, that’s not insurmountable. Arizona is hot as a pistol right now. We definitely have our work cut out for us, but we’ve been in this position before. That’s what I like. We have a lot of the same guys, and every one of them is a fighter.

And at the end of the day, I like our pitching staff better than anybody’s in baseball. We just have to go out there and score runs for them. We have to play good ball. Period. End of story.

See you at the park on Friday.