Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi admitted earlier this week that he lied to reporters over the injury status of star outfielder Bryce Harper in order to maintain a competitive advantage.
Girardi upped the ante Thursday, telling media members that he will no longer share details on player availability before games to prevent spilling key details that he believes could be used against his club.
The skipper revealed his new approach during his postgame media session after the Phillies’ 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins. Girardi was queried on why regular second baseman Jean Segura, who was not in the starting lineup, pinch-hit in the eighth inning only to be replaced on defense to start the bottom of the inning by rookie Nick Maton.
“We’re going to approach this different,” Girardi said. “I’ve talked to people in our organization. Just a manager’s decision. And I’m not going to share anything — who’s available, who’s not available — because I think it’s somewhat unfair to us. Just like if you were to do something, you’re not going to necessarily share it with a rival reporter.
“So, that’s the way we’re going to handle it. Just a manager’s decision.”
The status of Harper had come into question in recent weeks after the outfielder endured a vicious slump after being hit by a pitch in the face on April 28, when the ball caromed off Harper’s wrist as he tried to protect himself.
Harper returned to the lineup following a brief absence, but an 0-for-16 stretch with 10 strikeouts preceded him sitting out games Sunday and Monday.
Girardi initially downplayed Harper missing games and characterized Harper as relatively healthy, albeit hampered by a nagging wrist ailment. After Harper was placed on the injured list Tuesday, with a forearm injury instead of a wrist ailment, Girardi came clean.
“There’s a distinct advantage, if I tell you a guy’s wrist is hurt, for the other manager,” Girardi said. “The idea here is to win games. It’s like me telling you who’s available in the bullpen or not available. I don’t like doing that because I don’t want Don (Mattingly, the Miami manager) to know who I might use or not use.
“I understand you want to know, you know? But there are distinct advantages that I can give another club if they know everything that is going on over here. I’m sorry that I had to do that, but we’re trying to win games. He’s just not ready to go. I thought he’d be ready on Monday or Tuesday, and he’s not.”
–Field Level Media