Baseball Round-up: Brewers News, Rottino Called Up by Mets
Folks, if I were a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization, I’d be panicking right now. After first losing P Chris Narveson, then 1B Mat Gamel to season-ending injuries, the Brewers have placed CF Carlos Gomez on the 15-day DL. Now, the Brewers probably will have to place SS Alex Gonzalez on the DL as well, because today he slid into second base attempting to steal, and had to be assisted off the field.
UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt points out in today’s game blog at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online that this is the fourth consecutive day where a Brewers player has exited the game (Gamel, Braun, Gomez, and now Gonzalez). MLB.com Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy wrote that Gonzalez will be going to the DL as of tomorrow, and said that 3B Taylor Green and SS Edwin Maysonet (here’s his prior major league statistics; he’s a lifetime .276 hitter in very limited play) will be called up from AAA Nashville. Green can play 2B, 1B, and possibly the OF; Maysonet also plays 2B.
Note that this update doesn’t change my initial assessment about who’s going to play the outfield, now that there’s only three healthy outfielders (Corey Hart, Norichika Aoki, and Nyjer Morgan), with Braun playing anyway due to an Achilles injury.
This also doesn’t change my initial assessment regarding first base, either; right now we have Travis Ishikawa and Brooks Conrad, who aren’t good long-term solutions. It might be better for Braun and the Brewers if he must continue to play despite his injury to be shifted to first base. Braun came up as a third baseman, knows the infield, and is the best athlete on the club, so this might not be so onerous as it might appear.
That way, Corey Hart could be put in CF as he has good speed and is blessed with the best arm (outside of Braun, who is ailing) in the outfield. Morgan could be put in RF (possibly platooning with Conrad, who’s a better OF than he is at 1B), and Aoki, who has a very suspect arm despite his excellent speed, in left field.
Now, back to my regularly scheduled post.
The player who really could’ve helped them right now is 32-year-old utilityman Vinny Rottino, who was called up yesterday by the New York Mets. Rottino, who had a good Spring Training with the Mets and was the last player sent down to the minors, hit .317 at AAA Buffalo with 1 HR, 14 RBI, 13 runs scored, 8 doubles, and 1 triple. He had a fourteen game hitting streak going at Buffalo when he was called up.
Here’s a link to a very nice Mets blog that discussed the Rottino call-up:
Rottino has played the outfield exclusively for the Bisons this season, but played first base, third base, and catcher along with the OF in Spring Training. The Mets know Rottino is versatile, is a patient hitter, and has a calming, steady presence on the bench; better yet, Rottino is a fine defender and makes very few mental mistakes.
The best news in this case is that Rottino finally is is an organization that’s told him the flat, exact truth: they told him when he was sent down (reading between the lines in Peter Jackel’s last story about Rottino in the Racine Journal-Times) that he’d be the first position player called up, and he has been. Being in an organization that’s told Rottino the truth and values what he’s done thus far has to be a huge emotional lift, which Rottino deserves due to his persistence, faith in himself and his abilities, and all of his hard work.
But as this article by Peter Jackel from 2007 shows, Rottino is a lot more than just a guy with a great attitude. Then-Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan had this to say about Rottino:
“What is great about Vinny is he is able to play a lot of different positions and he plays them well,” Suppan said. “He had to wait a little while to get some good opportunities in the big leagues, but I think in the years to come, he’s going to be a mainstay.”
And here’s what then-Brewers hitting coach Jim Skaalen had to say:
“He knows he belongs up here,” Skaalen said. “Through the hard work he’s put in over the years coming from where he’s come from – an undrafted player – and the odds that are against someone in that situation, he’s obviously a fighter or he wouldn’t be here. And now he’s fought himself and worked himself to this level and he’s not going to be denied now.
“That’s the way it is with guys who play at this level. They expect to be here, they’re comfortable in this environment and they know they’re as good as anybody else who’s out there.”
Ultimately, the main thing to remember about Rottino is this: he’s a baseball player. And he’s a very good one. This is not a publicity stunt by the Mets; it’s not charity. Rottino has earned his opportunity and I believe he will make the most of it.
More people need to know about Vinny Rottino and his long journey to the major leagues. If they did, they’d realize the value in refusing to give up no matter what the odds.