A-Rod Suspended, Returns to Lineup; Girardi loses damn mind

Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

I’ll have something more detailed to say about today’s baseball news later in the week. I did watch Alex Rodriguez’s first at-bat of the season tonight against the White Sox (a Hawk Harrelson “duck snort” single). But what really stood out was an odd managerial decision by Yankee skipper Joe Girardi: Vernon Wells started tonight’s game at first base. Yes, that Vernon Wells. (And, even better, that Vernon Wells.) The Vernon Wells who has posted a combined 0.6 WAR since the start of 2011, and who has one season over 2.0 WAR since 2007. Vernon Wells—who has been one of the absolute worst players in baseball for the last couple seasons—at age 34, is making his first career start at first base tonight for the Yankees. Girardi is no doubt tired of talking about A-Rod, but this sure is a damn weird way to try to distract people from that tedious storyline.

The White Sox quickly capitalized on Wells’s not-altogether-unexpected lack of range at first base, posting three runs on Andy Pettitte in the first and another two in the second. (As I write this, they are currently threatening again in the third.) If White Sox hitters hadn’t proven themselves utterly inept at the game of baseball this season, I would almost think that they were deliberately trying to hit balls in Wells’s direction. Once they stopped rolling on the ground in laughter after seeing the Yankees’ lineup card, that is.

(Meanwhile, viewers from around the country and the world who might be tuning in to MLB.tv tonight to watch the A-Rod circus in Chicago have already been treated to some absolute gems by Athletics “legend” and White Sox’ resident Waldorf impersonator, Hawk Harrelson. Among my favorites are the assertion that manager Robin Ventura has done an excellent job this season with his 40-69 Sox, as well as a straightfaced comparison between Tigers’ MVP third baseman and designated drunk driver Miguel Cabrera and recently suspended Rangers’ outfielder Nelson Cruz.)

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