Throughout my history with journalists and their sources, I've found that the quickest way to make sure you get no slack from the media is to start playing games with the truth.
So I wonder if Joe Girardi took the best approach to the Phil Hughes question yesterday, as reported by Peter Abraham:
UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: Joe Girardi got testy again today when asked about the status of Phil Hughes. How could he not have anticipated that question? Here’s what he said:
“These are internal discussions that are meant to stay internal. Hughes is in the rotation right now.” When reporters sought more information, it only got worse.
Right now? What does that mean? Either Hughes is pitching Sunday or he is not. It’s unfair to the player to leave him in limbo like that. And please don’t say maybe they don’t yet. They know. Whoever is pitching Sunday will throw a bullpen tomorrow. ...
UPDATE, 9:01 p.m.: The Yankees just announced that Phil Hughes has a strained right oblique and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. So much for “he’s in the rotation right now.” Why the Yankees work like that, I have no idea. But this allows Hughes to chill out and get some work in without being demoted.
At any rate, they’ll need a starter for Sunday. Likely Darrell Rasner.
UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: For the record, Girardi said Hughes was healthy when asked before the game. I guess Hughes got hurt while sitting on the bench.
UPDATE, 10:24 p.m.: Girardi now says that Hughes told them he was hurt yesterday. But this afternoon, when asked, he said Hughes was healthy.
Few things rankle me more than unwarranted hostility toward the media. Girardi's no fool; he should be able to anticipate what questions he'll be asked. If Girardi really didn't want to reveal Hughes' "injury" yet, a simple "no comment" would suffice with whatever explanation he'd prefer ("I don't want to discuss the health of my players or any potential roster moves until we've made a final decision" works well). Any professional journalist (and I'll grant not all members of the crew covering the Yankees fit that label) would respect that answer even if he or she didn't like it.
Instead it appears he's choosing a prickly, antagonistic road that doesn't seem to hew too closely with the truth. It's not easy managing a losing team in New York to begin with, but I can't imagine this apparent tack will do him any favors if the Yankees continue to struggle this season.