July is already a month full of wild, baseless speculation. When something like this gets tweeted during most people’s lunch hours, things can get a little crazy:
— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) July 16, 2012
Then there was this:
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 16, 2012
That’s a lot to digest in about 15 minutes. Was there a trade, even though the Brewers are only 1/3 of the way through the much-hyped 9-game stretch? Worse, was Zack Greinke hurt just a couple weeks before the trade deadline? If it was either of those explanations, why wait for Ron Roenicke to announce it later in the afternoon during media availability?
Right now, Roenicke still hasn’t spoken, but Doug Melvin did tell Ken Rosenthal that the Brewers were giving Greinke time to “recharge his batteries.” Roenicke sent Tom Haudricourt a text message saying they “just want to get him back in his routine.”
Perhaps more will come out when Roenicke speaks, but at the moment, something just doesn’t seem right. If Greinke needed time to “recharge” after making so many starts in a short period of time, why did they have him start the first game after the All-Star break? If it’s about getting Greinke back on schedule, why weren’t things right in that first start after the break, when he was on normal rest? And since he’s not starting in Cincinnati, either, how is skipping his turn in the rotation going to get him back into his routine?
Roenicke is scheduled to speak with the media at 3:30 p.m. central time, so hopefully some of those questions will be answered.
UPDATE: Extensive comments from Ron Roenicke, as reported by Haudricourt:
“We tried to do something with Zack that I think Zack thought was kind of neat and we thought would work. And it didn’t work. He didn’t pitch well that second day after he was thrown out and he didn’t pitch well the other day.
“He didn’t feel the same; he just didn’t feel right. We kind of got him out of his routine. The All-Star break didn’t help because he also didn’t have a bullpen in between that start (Friday). So, to try to get him back on track for the second half, and we know it’s important for him to pitch well for us, we bumped him a start.
“Hopefully, we can get Zack back on his routine and pitching the way he can. But we felt this was the best way to do it, talking to him and talking to (pitching coach) Rick Kranitz about doing this. That’s why we’re doing this.”
“We still thought he would be fine coming back after the all-star break and we probably put too much on him, thinking he’d be fine, and he wasn’t. This is our best way, after talking with him, on figuring out how to get him back on the right track. I think this is the right way to do it, just give him that start off and get him right again.”
For what it’s worth, it appears Roenicke is taking the bullet for the entire situation:
“Any time I get somebody out of whack, I’m always going to question the things we do. If I don’t, then how do we learn from it? If I want to learn and get better at what I do, and we all do, then we have to look at every situation, every individual and figure out if something didn’t go right, figure out what we should have done differently. I always second-guess myself on everything I do, when things don’t go well.
“If it would have gone well, I probably would have second-guessed myself for pitching him the second day in a row. I wasn’t 100% comfortable and committed to do that. I didn’t think it was that big of an issue. After talking to him and everybody else, I thought it would be OK. But I still question that a little bit.”
Doug Melvin is scheduled to join the FS Wisconsin broadcast tonight. I would imagine Greinke will be a major topic of discussion in the booth, so if/when Melvin says it, we’ll add his comments here.
UPDATE: Melvin’s time in the broadcast booth was brief with a quick inning, but Brian Anderson’s first question was about Greinke. Melvin was in GM-speak mode, and didn’t say a whole lot on the subject:
“[Skipping a start] is very normal for a lot of pitchers … it does happen. I think it’s bigger news than normal because of other circumstances, he’s a free agent and all that.”
“I talked to Zack and he said looking back now either he shouldn’t have started that second game in Houston or if when we came back after the All-Star break he’d be the 5th starter.”
The first statement is pretty obvious, but the second does seem to suggest even Greinke has some regrets over the past week. Still, like any other starter in baseball, he’s made it pretty clear he wants to go every 5th day. He’ll have to wait until July 24th in Philadelphia — one full week before the trade deadline.