Ah, the first cutdown day. Philip Humber, Yusmeiro Petit, Jose Rosado
and Grant Roberts were all sent to minor-league camp, while Todd Van
Poppel retired. Or at least the consensus is that he retired — he left
camp, at any rate. (If his hatchback's just broke down outside of
Okeechobee, he's going to be PO'ed at Omar Minaya.)
Turns out young Mr. Humber pronounces his name “Umber” — the “H” is
silent. Who knew? Perhaps one day he'll be the pitcher to finally make
the “H” column silent for us in a game. Not that I'm getting ahead of
myself or anything. No pressure, Philip. Easygoing town.
The first cutdown day is always entertaining because it tells you
nothing about the makeup of the roster; the players pack their bags to
go about 300 yards; and half of them reappear in the latter frames of
some late-March split-squad affair, though one hopes not while Piazza
is chasing Dodger relievers around Port St. Lucie.
I have to wonder about Todd Van Poppel's spring training. As far as I
know he never got the chance to throw a pitch in anger — or even in pique,
it being March and all. So what was the assessment that led to his
retirement? Did he throw BP somewhere? Could he or the brass tell
anything from his throwing BP when some guys haven't even debuted all
their pitches? Did he look sluggish in the shuttle run? I'm sure there
are at least relatively sound reasons behind his packing it in, but for
all the talk of New York's 11 million papers and relentless media
spotlight, I don't know what they are.
We got beat by the Braves, 5-0. Thirty days from now this won't be
something tossed in at the end of ruminations about a
potential setup guy.
Maybe Van Poppel decided he just really wanted to grow a beard and blast some Joe Cocker.