As head coach of the Goldsboro (N.C.) Rosewood girls high school basketball team, Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron was squirmy during baseball's early-December winter meetings in Dallas.
His team was 2-0 at the time, with three games scheduled during his absence. While he was at the meetings, the team went 1-2.
After he returned, Rosewood won six straight and is now 9-2, "And we beat one of the teams that beat us while I was gone, so maybe it was the coaching," he said with a sly grin.
There is Ryan Freel, Tony Womack, Rich Aurilia, Ray Olmedo and William Bergolla all going to sleep at night dreaming of turning double plays on a steady basis with shortstop Felipe Lopez.
What is a manager to do?
"First of all, I don't like to see jobs handed to kids, they have to earn them," Narron said.
His reference was to 23-year-old third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who was called up from Class AAA Louisville on July 23 when Joe Randa was traded, but it includes Olmedo and Bergolla at second base.
Encarnacion played third base the rest of the season and hit .232 with nine homers in 211 at-bats, but struck out 60 times and was a defensive liability with 10 errors, mostly on throws.
"It will be awesome to see Encarnacion come back, but it's also awesome to see Richie (Aurilia)
come back because he can play third, short and second," Narron said.
Good times. We are so doomed.