Quick Update On Chipper
By Editorial Staff
Hello again gang! I’m writing my last post from balmy Michigan for the next 10 days or so. I’m heading out to the island paradise of Hawaii, specifically the big island. I’m taking my bride there for her birthday and for her to finally get a chance to go whale watching. Frequent flyer miles are a wonderful thing!
I wanted to pass along a quick update on Chipper’s progress before I head out. He did work out in the field yesterday, taking about 40 grounders with no problems at all. He didn’t plant and throw, though, which is probably a better test of his knee. He did indicate that he would be doing that shortly.
There were some interesting tidbits coming from conversations with Chipper. First of all, he said the knee was not 100% and he didn’t know when, if ever, it might be 100%. He said that he thought if it was at 80-90% he’d be fine and be able to contribute at a high level. While this isn’t surprising, I do find it a bit difficult to reconcile this with his earlier quotes about the knee needing to be at a place where he didn’t think about it or worry about it. From experience, I’m not sure that it’s possible not to think about a joint as critical to an athlete as the knee with it being only at 80%. For now, I’m just going to chalk this up to Chipper being Chipper, as he’s never been one to worry too much about his quotes aligning perfectly with each other (which kind of reminds me of Sparky Anderson responding to a similar situation by saying (paraphrasing) that “it’d be boring if I gave all you guys the same answer to the question”)!
The other morsel that I found interesting to chew on was Chipper saying that he doesn’t plan on being an everyday player. He’s hoping to play five or six days a week and hoping to avoid long absences from the lineup. Again, this isn’t much of a surprise, but it does set pretty low expectations for this stage of spring training (you know, the time of year when eveyone is in the best shape of their lives and everyone is poised to have a breakout year, and the Nationals are going to win 100 games…). As a follow-up to this, Frank Wren and company were quoted as saying they had no backup plan for Chipper and weren’t worried about one. Maybe it’s just be, but if my number three hitter basically told me on the opening day of spring training that he was going to sit out 40 games or so, best case, I’d be thinking about a backup plan. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Prado is going to see a lot of time at third base, but it might take a bit of alchemy to figure out how to get production out of his replacement in left field, given the current cast of characters.
But that’s just me. I also thought it made sense to get a reasonable answer from Billy Wagner as to why he won’t take five minutes out of his busy schedule and send in his retirement papers, as he’s insistent he’s retired. Is it time to break out “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” again?