It isn't that Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron is unappreciative of outstanding accomplishments, sometimes he is a tough critic, and admits it.
For instance, how about those three home runs in two games by third baseman Edwin Encarnacion?
"I was disappointed he struck out with the bases loaded (on a 3-and-2 pitch) against the Yankees Sunday," said Narron. "That's when he has to put the ball in play."
Narron paused and smiled.
"I guess that's kind of nit-picking of a guy who hit three home runs in two days," he said. "He is having a good spring. He is an intelligent kid. He hit two homers (Friday against the Twins) and his second homer was a great at-bat. He fouled off several good pitches before he homered."
What Narron likes most is that he saw Encarnacion when he was 18 years old, a year after he signed with Texas, Narron's first year as manager of the Rangers.
"We put him out there with major-league players and from the first day he stepped on the field he showed poise and confidence and wasn't intimated," said Narron. "And he hasn't changed one bit since that day."
Narron did go on to praise EdE, and I'm trying to keep that in mind, but I'm getting the feeling that if EdE has a rough April then Narron's going to push to have him sent to Louisville.
Why don't guys like Rich Aurilia ever get criticized? Is there a magic age in baseball where you go from "clueless youngster" to "veteran who knows how to play the game"?
What is that age? 27? 30? 35?
I've said it many times and I still believe that managers don't make much of a difference. But they do have the ability to hinder young player's development by sticking them on the bench.
The Reds aren't going anywhere this year. I'm ok with that. I really think most fans are also fine with it because we believe that Krivsky and Castellini are going to turn things around pretty quick.
So they need to play the young talent. The Reds have the support of the fans to do so. Playing Rich Aurilia every day might be worth an extra win or two (more likely not), but what's the point of that? Aurilia isn't the future. Encarnacion is. Might as well let Encarnacion play through the early growing pains, he's got nothing left to learn at AAA and he's not going to learn anything on the bench.
It could very well be that I'm overreacting, like I said at the top I'm trying to remember that Narron was (eventually) complimentary towards the guy. But this is already feeling an awful lot like the Felipe Lopez situation last Spring.