Thursday, June 30, 2011
TC takes blame for inserting cold Byrdak
By Adam Rubin
Terry Collins took responsibility for a miscommunication that resulted in not having Tim Byrdak warming when the southpaw was summoned from the bullpen to face pinch-hitter Andy Dirks in the seventh inning. Dirks then delivered a two-run homer off Byrdak, who had not throw a pitch in the bullpen since the previous inning -- and only about eight to 10 fastballs the inning earlier anyway.
Bobby Parnell, who was warming at the time, initially stepped onto the field from the bullpen before he was shooed back. When the umpire initially signaled for the lefty to enter, Byrdak figured he was just choosing a random hand and not signaling for a southpaw since only one pitcher -- Parnell -- was up at the time.
Said Byrdak: "When they called for a lefty, I'm thinking, 'Sometimes they'll just call for a guy down there. There's only one guy throwing. They'll just put a hand up. It doesn't really matter.' So Bobby started heading out. And then they were really adamant about having a lefty come in. Bobby turned around, and I turned to Debo (bullpen coach Jon Debus). I said, 'Debo?' He's like, 'I don't know, kid.' I was like, all right. Jacket comes off. The look on Bobby's face as I passed him on the warning track was priceless, which I'll never forget. He was shocked."
Byrdak had been the one trotting onto the field in error at Citi Field earlier this season when he was not the pitcher that Collins preferred.
Anyway, Byrdak was more upset with himself for deviating from a fastball while pitching to Dirks, since when he was throwing briefly in the bullpen the previous inning, he had only thrown fastballs.
"I was more upset that I got burned on a pitch that I don't think I necessarily was ready enough to throw," Byrdak said. "I should have kept going with the fastball and stuff like that, and if I was going to expand [the strike zone], try to bounce that breaking ball."
Parnell, meanwhile, entered immediately after that and registered 103 mph on a rader gun used by Tigers television.
Said Collins: "The Tim Byrdak thing was my fault. I thought he was ready. He was not."