For those of you who haven't been reading the Seattle Times in the last week, you may have missed this little gem dropped by Seattle Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn:
Asked about some apparent situations during his start Saturday when he and catcher Kenji Johjima weren’t in concert, Washburn didn’t deny it.
“There’s times when you’re not always on the same page,” he said. “It happens.”
Washburn was asked if there was any more of it than normal.
“With Kenji? No,” he said. “Read into that what you want.”
Washburn has made prior reference to some difficulty working with Johjima. On Saturday, he appeared to bark at his catcher after one White Sox at-bat.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Washburn. “When he comes over from Japan, you know there are going to be communications issues with the language barrier, and him learning an entirely different league and a whole new pitching staff. And also, he has to learn the umpires and opposing pitchers. He’s got a lot to handle. I would never want to have to do what he’s doing. He’s got a tough job, a lot of hurdles.”
As for whether it’s more complicated than merely different pitch preferences in particular situations, Washburn said: “I don’t know how exactly to word it. It’s more like a consistency issue, I guess. Sometimes you click and sometimes you don’t.”
Now personally I think that this was absolutely uncalled for. Washburn had just come off of another poor outing, and completely threw catcher Kenji Johjima under the bus.
I will admit that I did quit playing baseball in the fourth grade, but I still think I learned that the pitcher has ultimate control over what he throws. If a catcher calls a pitch that the pitcher does not want to throw, he can simply shake him off.
While Washburn partially blames their problems on Johjima's lack of command of the English language, I'm fairly confident that one finger means fastball in every language.
After watching Washburn pitch for over two years now, I'm not convinced that Johjima was calling a poor game. Washburn may have agreed with every single call, yet lacked the talent to get anybody out.
When Johjima calls for Washburn's best pitch, and that best pitch is either a fat fastball, or a hanging breaking ball, it's going to get hammered, no matter what.
I'm tired of listening to Washburn complain and make excuses about why he has failed to succeed as a Mariner. He needs to man up, take responsibility, and acknowledge that he has not earned his money since coming over from the Angels.
It is really too bad that Johjima lacks a command of the English language and cannot stand up for himself. If he could, we could both tell Washburn to shut up, take the mound and get some outs.