PITTSBURGH — In order for the Nationals to make room on their roster for right-hander Todd Coffey, who came off the disabled list this morning, they optioned right-hander Collin Balester back to Triple-A on Saturday night.
Balester, who pitched well enough to be considered for a spot in the team’s bullpen out of spring training, once again had the option on his contract work against him as the guy to go despite not pitching his way off the team.
“We’re happy to have (Coffey) back, but we’re not happy to lose Balester,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “Balester’s been real good but given this options issue, where you’ve got to make room for people on the ball club, sometimes it’s the guy who has options that gets the short end of the stick.
“We anticipate Bally will be back with us at some point but in the meantime, we need Coffey’s presence in the bullpen. He’s not just a good pitcher, he’s a great presence in that bullpen.”
– Last night Livan Hernandez told reporters after the game that he felt the 30-minute time window he was given in order to get out to the field and warmup before the game’s delayed start time. He also intimated that, maybe, the Pirates had a little advance notice because Pirates starter Jeff Karstens was already out in the bullpen warming when he got out there.
Riggleman put no stock in that theory when asked about it on Sunday, but did note that the home team has jurisdiction over when the game will start up until the moment the lineup cards are handed to the umpires, at which point it becomes the umpires’ call.
“They told us all along that we’re just going to reevaluate this at eight o’clock and at quarter to eight, they told us we’d play at 8:15,” Riggleman said. “Players are creatures of habit. I’m sure Livo would have liked to have had more time but when you get in these situations, you deal with it as it comes. The weather breaks when the weather breaks… It’s unfortunate that Livo would like to have more time but it’s their call.”
— The tarp is off the field here at PNC Park and the sun seems to be trying to come out. My expert analysis is that we ill have baseball here in Pittsburgh at some point this afternoon.