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A Situation To Watch!

Kind of. In case you haven't heard yet, Jack Hannahan's got a small tear in his groin muscle, and for the next 7-10 days he's gonna be chillin, billin, you know, whatever. On the bench. Because he won't be playing. That's what that means.

It's not a major injury, and in the long run Hannahan should be no worse for wear. The significance, though, is that Hannahan came to camp looking to wow some people as a shortstop, and now his time to do that is limited. So the seeming stranglehold he had on the Opening Day utility man role has been loosened as Josh Wilson and even Matt Tuiasosopo...reach in with their strangle...too. This got dark. Guys, if you all strangle the utility position, it'll die, and none of you will get the job. Kids these days gotta think about the consequences of their behavior.

When Kenji Johjima went off to play in the WBC, Rob Johnson seized the opportunity provided by Johjima's absence and basically stole his teammate's gig. This isn't quite like that. For one thing, "utility guy" isn't as high-profile as "starting catcher," and for another, the window here isn't open as wide. If Josh Wilson wins out, for example, he won't last long, because he isn't good, and everyone knows it. The reason this is worth watching is that it gives Tui a slightly better shot. He'll play some more short while Hannahan heals, and even if he doesn't end up winning the job outright, he could plant some seeds in Wakamatsu's head. Wak knows that Tui has way more offensive upside than Hannahan or - *sigh* - Wilson. If Tui manages to impress in the field, or even just handle himself without screwing up, then suddenly he becomes a real consideration. The team wants to be able to play good defense everywhere, but it's not necessarily a requirement.

In short: while the likelihood remains that Hannahan recovers quickly and looks good enough to win the utility job as we've expected all along, there's now a greater opportunity for Josh Wilson and Matt Tuiasosopo. And even if Tui doesn't take it in April, if he looks good enough, he'll remain in the back of Wak's mind as an option if Hannahan doesn't perform.


By the way, David Aardsma topped out at 93 today and threw most of his pitches around 91. This being his first Cactus League appearance of the spring after his groin injury, it's not surprising that he took it easy. Well, not easy. Easier.