Although 6-1 in his past 23 major league appearances, Josh Hancock was released by the pitching-strapped Cincinnati Reds this week because they dubbed him overweight.
He felt he was an ample and easy target for the Reds to make a statement.
"There's a lot of bitterness; it still kind of stings," said Hancock, 27. "But I definitely think I was made an example of, like a shot across the bow to the other players to let them know they have to come in and be in shape and be ready. ... It was unexpected, to say the least."
Hancock, a righthander, arrived at the Cardinals' spring training facility Wednesday as a nonroster invitee to camp. Cardinals officials said he passed his physical, and one official said he didn't look particularly overweight.
I didn't comment on the release of Hancock when it happened, so I'll go ahead and do it now.
It looks to me like a bush league move by Narron. If Hancock was sloppy Jimmy Anderson fat then I wouldn't have a problem with it, but he's 6'3 and 220 pounds. That shouldn't be worth an instant dismissal.
Narron wanted to make an example of a player and picked someone who probably wasn't going to make the team anyway. That doesn't take a lot of guts, and it doesn't send a very strong message either. Really what message does it send? If you suck we'll find a reason to get rid of you? Shouldn't that be standard operating procedure to begin with?
You never know who's telling the truth with these things, but here's Hancock's take on the situation:
The Reds reportedly told Hancock on Saturday that they were releasing him because he was 17 to 17 1/2 pounds overweight. Hancock said he had not been given a target weight, nor had he been approached about his weight as he worked out over the past month.
"I knew I was carrying more weight this year, but I'm not carrying any more than I have in previous years," said Hancock, who threw 18 1/3 innings in winter ball in Venezuela to further distance himself from 2005's injuries. "I think the one thing that (hurt me) was that in my bio it says I was 207 and I haven't been 207 since I was in high school. You add 17 pounds to that, and then there I am."
I'm not exactly heated about this or anything, because as I said earlier Hancock probably wasn't going to make the team anyway. But if he helps the Cardinals this year then Castellini and Krivksy probably ought to start looking long and hard at Jerry Narron.