Unable to locate a Double-A team with space on its schedule, the Philadelphia Phillies have secured the Washington Nationals as an opponent for newly signed pitcher Pedro Martinez's rehab start next week.
“We want to ease Pedro back into the groove,” said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “We didn’t want him facing major league hitters until his arm strength gets to where he is comfortable.
“The Nationals are a perfect fit for that.”
Nationals pitcher John Lannan could not contain his excitement.
“What a thrill, to be on the same field as a major league team,” said Lannan. “It’s every kid’s dream to be on the field with actual major league ballplayers.
“Do you think (Phillies second baseman) Chase Utley will give me an autograph?”
The Nationals were resistant at first to playing at home, as they lose tens of thousands of dollars on every home game.
“An extra home game? No way,” said Nationals president Stan Kasten. “Why should we open the doors so 2,600 people can come in and cost us money again? We just laid off Manny Acta to save money.
“We’ll play in Philly if they pay for the train tickets.”
Martinez, surrounded by a phalanx of midgets and wearing armless sunglasses like Morpheus from The Matrix, displayed his usual cockiness.
“Look, I don’t care if these guys aren’t major leaguers. If I need to, I will drill them. Go dig up Frank Howard, I’ll drill him right in the (censored), too. If they want to cry, let them cry.
“There’s no crying in baseball,” Martinez added. He then began throwing peanuts to a small elephant he’d brought with him.
When told that Frank Howard wasn’t dead, Martinez began throwing peanuts at reporters.