Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bring Newhan back!

So am I just too impatient? Or am I correct in my puzzlement over Mazzilli’s bizarre refusal to play David Newhan consistently? Don’t get me wrong, I was as impressed and excited as any one else to see Jeff Fiorentino make it to the big show less than a year after he signed his first big league contract. But why, oh why, must we sit here and watch one no name rookie after another be called up while David Newhan sits on the bench getting rustier with each day. Only in the past week has he gotten any real playing time. This despite the loss of Bigbie and Matos.

It seems especially strange given that it was Newhan whose arrival sparked a sad Oriole club last summer. It was Mazzili who played Newhan just about anywhere to get him playing time; third base, left right and centerfield, second base, first base and even designated hitter. So what gives this year? Newhan epitomizes hustle and effort. The guy leaves it on the field. Yes his batting average is weak so far. But anyone would find it difficult to get a hit if they played once a week as a pinch runner and once more as late game fill in. Yes I noticed that Chris Gomez is still hitting over .400 despite infrequent playing time. He actually has 7 more hits in 28 less at bats than Newhan. But take a closer look at the spacing of Gomez’ playing time and you see he has had more consistent playing time. Let’s not try to take anything away from Chris, he is having a great season coming off the bench.

But let’s get back to Newhan. Why is he not higher on Mazzilli’s roster? Management expressed their commitment last fall, guaranteeing that there was a spot on the 2005 roster for Newhan. It is frustrating for those fans who enjoy watching a player like David Newhan succeed. I can already see the writing on the wall; mid season the O’s release Newhan, citing his low batting average and need to test young players. What a load of crap that will be. Last season Newhan made an impact the day he arrived and continued to do so the balance of the season. The Oriole’s need to play their tested players and bring the rookies along more slowly. Ramon Nivar? Napoleon Calzado? Jeff Fiorentino? Well at least we have heard of the last one. But we know Jeff Fiorentino because he played when Newhan should have been in the line-up. News flash: we are playing for THIS YEAR! Not the ever distant “future.”