Davey Johnson’s 15-minute pregame session with reporters this afternoon sure didn’t lack substance.
Johnson announced that Chien-Ming Wang will be moved to the bullpen and Ross Detwiler will be inserted into the rotation. He also took aim at Rays manager Joe Maddon, who last night called out Johnson for having Joel Peralta’s glove inspected on suspicion of Peralta using a foreign substance.
Maddon called Johnson’s decision “cowardly”, “bush” and even dropped an expletive in there, as well. Today, Johnson fired back.
“My only comment to him is: read the rule book. It’s that simple,” Johnson said. “I’ve been involved in every conceivable kind of thing you can think of about players trying to get an edge mentally or physically, and that’s part of the game. When somebody goes a little overboard, you call it out. It’s that simple. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s over and done with. They played a heck of a ballgame, they beat us, and that should be the end of the story.”
Maddon’s comments seemed to go after Johnson personally, but the Nationals’ skipper says he has no interest in getting into a war of words from dugout to dugout.
“I don’t want to get in a shouting match with Joe,” Johnson said. “I looked him up on the internet and found out he has a Tweeter, so he can get to more people than me. He’s got a bigger following. But it was interesting reading.
“I didn’t know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss anyway. Not knowing him. But I understand where he’s coming from. His job as a manager is to protect the players. So I understand where he’s coming from. But he doesn’t know me from a hole in the hill. Or I, him, for that matter. But I do know the rule book, and I do try to follow it. And if one of our players was breaking it and got caught, turn the page. Try not to get caught.”
Johnson said that he doesn’t have an issue with pitchers using a bit of pine tar, saying he’s often seen guys put a small portion of the sticky substance on the string of their glove. But he did have a problem with Peralta loading up with what Johnson thought - and crew chief Tim Tschida confirmed - was an excessive amount of pine tar on the inside of his glove.
“Individuals are going to do whatever they can to enhance their performance,” Johnson said. “But when you start breaking the rules, you risk the chance of getting caught. It’s that simple.
“If I think somebody is using an advantage against us, if there’s any doubt in my mind, I don’t like to have doubt. And that’s why I kind of humorously went to the umpire.”
Maddon insinuated that because Peralta played for the Nats, it was inappropriate for the organization to use any sort of “insider trading” against the reliever. Johnson said he doesn’t think that’s a factor at all. He also brushed aside Maddon’s assertion that there are guys in the Nationals’ clubhouse who likely were not happy with the decision to go after Peralta.
Johnson did make it clear that he thinks that a lengthy suspension (which could be up to 10 games) for Peralta would be excessive, saying he thinks that the ejection should be enough.
He also said he didn’t expect anything to carry over into tonight. “I’m not speaking for the guru over there. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s over and done with.”