Ryan Madson is an integral part of the Phillies beleaguered bullpen. He's one of the better setup men in baseball, but not one of the better candidates to fill in for a team's closer, which is exactly what the Phillies had asked Madson to do. As expected, the results of having Madson take over for an injured Brad Lidge weren't good, but this time, Madson physically expressed his displeasure with himself and it turned out to hurt both him and the Phillies.
On a recent tough road trip, Madson blew another save in an outing against San Francisco. His outing frustrated and angered Madson and he stomped his way through the dugout and up the tunnel to the Phillies clubhouse and slipped. Further annoyed, Madson then found a metal chair to take out his frustrations on, but the chair would have none of it and scored a TKO by inflicting multiple brakes on the big toe of Madson's right foot.
A CT scan showed those brakes and Madson was told he would need surgery to basically put his toe back together. That diagnosis was a worst case scenario for Madson and means that he'll miss a significant amount of time, but the Phillies don't know exactly how long he'll miss until after the surgery.
"We knew it was bad from the beginning," said Phillies trainer Scott Sheridan about Madson's broken toe.
For their part, the Phillies simply shouldn't have had Madson pitching in the closer's role. Coming into this season, Madson had converted just 15 of the 34 save opportunities that he had in his career and he blew two more in his six chances this season. It's likely that Danys Baez, Chad Durbin or other potential applicants should have been given the job out of spring training. That would have allowed Madson to remain as the setup man, keeping him in a role that he's more comfortable with and certainly much better at performing.
Still, Madson should have known that kicking a metal chair was no way to react to his lot in life. While fans want players to show emotion when they don't come through, they don't want them to act in a childish way, especially if it puts them in harm's way. Plain and simple, Madson's reaction was immature and downright stupid.
That one big toe, bludgeoned by an innocent metal chair, is going to cost the Phillies in a big way and it should cost Madson as well. Somebody needs to suggest to Madson that his self-inflicted injury should come with a price that is even greater than the physical and mental pain that it will cost Madson.
Maybe there should be a financial pain as well.
Perhaps Madson should contribute the salary that he'll earn during his time away from the Phillies bullpen to a charity. Madson makes approximately $190,000 per week as a major league player, so a month on the shelf would cost him approximately $775,000. Even just a healthy percentage of that income could help a variety of charities. Maybe then, Madson would settle for kicking a pillow or squeezing one of those stress reducing balls to take out his frustrations.
Meanwhile, there isn't a whole lot of good news on the rest of the injury front for the Phillies.
J.A. Happ, recovering from a stiff forearm, had his bullpen session stopped on Monday. It was hoped that the session would lead to some potential rehab appearances and a return to the rotation in the relatively near future for Happ. Now, the timetable is shattered and his return is one big question mark.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins will also miss more time than originally thought with his calf injury. Rollins suffered a strained calf warming up for the Phillies home opener on April 12 and the Phillies figured that he would return by about May 10 at the earliest. Instead, Rollins will need more time on the DL to let the injury heal, but there is no definite forecast on how long he'll be out of action.
Rollins was able to take batting practice and field some ground balls over the weekend, but admitted that he still can't run because of the injury. "When I can run without pain, then I'll be ready for a rehab," explained Rollins.
In the past week, the Phillies have had J.C. Romero, Brad Lidge and Joe Blanton return from the DL, with mixed results.
Romero has pitched in three games and has a 5.40 ERA, while Lidge has made two appearances - both in non-save situations - and has a 6.75 ERA. Blanton returned to the rotation Monday night against St. Louis and allowed four earned runs in six innings of work in his first start of the season.