By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
Today’s topic is a good one. It is centered on the return of Nick Castellanos to the lineup after missing 46 games with a broken hand. Our writers will share their thoughts on this development which should be interesting.
Kurt and Holly have not shared their answers to this Thursday question, but both can’t wait to see what the other has to say.
What’s your take on the sudden, surprising return of Nick Castellanos?
When Nick’s hand was broken, doctors said that it would take an average of 8 weeks to heal, putting his return near the very end of the season, if at all. As late as last weekend, Ausmus indicated that he still wasn’t sure if Nick would be participating again this year and if so, it would be in Atlanta for the last series of the year.
Then something interesting happened. Nick’s agent got involved – making lots of phone calls and being publicly vocal about how Nick was ready to return. How much of a noise did he create? Enough to make the perpetually calm Brad Ausmus ticked off enough to make a public comment criticizing Nick’s rep.
Then, the next day, Ausmus mentioned the possibility that Castellanos may be able to return for the last game against Cleveland on Thursday. But on Tuesday, one day later, we read that Nick is rushing back on a plane in order to make that night’s game. Plane travel that was arranged by Mr. I.
And for the 2 innings since his arrival, Nick was like grass-on-dirt with Ausmus – pestering him non-stop about getting in the game.
But was Brad going on the progress reports from Nick’s rehab in Florida? Was he trying to be careful about not exacerbating Nick’s injury? And how much influence did Castellanos’ agent have with Al Avila and Mr. I? Is it a coincidence that Nick was reactivated from the DL less than 36 hours after it was reported he was making a push for Nick’s return?
Was it all about Nick getting back into the game? Or did it have to deal with a sense of urgency coming from Al Avila and Mr. I? Did they see that Brad did not have the highest level of urgency they needed when it came to winning a playoff spot?
Did Mr. I or Al – or both – override their manager in order to ensure the Tigers pulled out every available stop that is a required step in playoff baseball?
The percentages of success seem to change every hour for our Tigers. And it’s conceivable that Nick could be that factor that pulls them into October.
What was it a week ago that Nick couldn’t get through batting practice without pain? And now suddenly, he’s ready to go?
If we have learned anything about how the Tigers handle injuries, well, let’s just say their track record has not been good. They failed miserably in handling Jordan Zimmermann, bringing him back too early, which promptly sent him back to the DL. Then for Round 2, they threw him back in the fire, again too early, not ready to pitch, and he got hammered and hasn’t started a game since.
Now here comes Nick, back in the lineup. Does this smell of desperation to you, maybe at the expense of Castellanos? He did look good at the plate Tuesday night, doubling in the 8th inning in pinch hit duty. So maybe the Tigers judged this one correctly.
Well hold on, there I was Wednesday night, writing of course, Nick’s at the plate and I hear Gibby say, “looks like he felt that one.” What? He felt pain?
This is the same team whose manager, on the same night, decided that Michael Fulmer should come back to pitch after the 45 minute rain delay. He wasn’t effective before the rain delay and you could argue he should have come out then. So for him to return after the delay made no sense, and frankly makes you wonder, once again. The Tigers flat-out, do not protect their players, and as a fan, you hope you’re not the only one who notices.
Gibson said Ausmus “smartly” removed Fulmer from the game after he started to get in trouble again. “Smartly” was the word he used. You judge the intelligence, I can’t anymore. The Tigers are now rolling the dice again with two emerging young players, Castellanos and Fulmer – someone please explain it.