"We've all seen the struggles that he's had adjusting to the new spot in the batting order and adjusting to being a centerfielder in the big leagues. That was the reason we sent him down."
(Mike Rizzo, via Nationals Journal, 4/14/2009)
LAAAstings: Set up to fail.
Nats exile Lastings Milledge to AAA Syracuse. These days, you just can't afford to scuffle for 7 games? Let's face it, attitude "issues" aside, the Nationals are responsible for setting up Lastings Milledge to fail; and Mike Rizzo's stated "reason" for the demotion is completely disingenuous.
Pssst! Hey Mike, here's a hint: He's not a leadoff hitter, and he's not a centerfielder. Mystery solved!
If you want to take the pressure off, here's an idea--let him bat seventh in the order. If he's struggling with learning to hit and play centerfield at the same time, how about this idea: let him play left field once in a while. How many games did we watch him struggle in center last year while Willie Harris made play after play in left?
Oh, and Harper over at OMG nailed it, too:
OK I'll grant you that they gave the Dukes-Milledge-Dunn OF plenty of time to succeed. I mean, they put that lineup out there in two non-consecutive games. Two! And sure the Nats scored 5 and 8 runs respectively in those games, but did they win? No sir, they did not.
But no doubt this move has very little to do with on-field performance, and everything to do with sending a message (like Boz hinted with Nostradamus-like precision in his column earlier this morning) about L-Millz's attitude. Want to send a message to an immature
kid young man? Bench his ass for a few games. But send him down to AAA? Hmmm...seems a little extreme. Meanwhile, we all know Manny is a Milledge guy...and sources with no knowledge of the situation say Rizzo's not a Manny guy...should be an interesting next couple of weeks.
By the way: who the f*#k is driving this clown car we call the Washington Nationals, anyway? Rizzo? Kasten? Mark Lerner?