When a CSNPhilly piece by Jim Salisbury featured quotes from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. discrediting prospect Jesse Biddle‘s assertion of suffering from a concussion last season, the uproar that should accompany such contradiction was missing.
The Phils’ 2010 opening round draft choice (27th overall), Biddle, missed considerable time last year after the Phillies told the media that the Germantown Friends School graduate needed a mental break.
Biddle struggled with his production after he was struck in the head with an ice pellet during a hail storm in May. Prior to the ailment, which forced him to miss one start initially, the Philadelphia native posted a 3.18 ERA with 61 strike outs and 24 walks in 10 starts for Double-A Reading. In the five starts that followed he had a 9.81 ERA with 15 strike outs and 16 walks issued.
At the time of the injury last year, Biddle was diagnosed by a doctor as having a concussion and, according to a piece by the Reading Eagle’s Mike Drago last year, it was his the third of his life.
Biddle’s high demands on himself drove him to push through the difficulties and things weren’t getting better. In June he would be shut down to visit a specialist and participate in physical therapy in Florida.
Biddle offered a declaration to me in August that the damage caused by being struck in the head was quite substantial, having an impact outside of baseball.
“I definitely was experiencing some symptoms and whether or not they were affecting me on the field, they just affected my day to day life,” Biddle said.
The young left-hander also expressed that the concussion symptoms lasted for some time and any implications that he is delicate between the ears was of no great concern to him.
“I didn’t really read anything about it,” Biddle stated. “One of the things I’m learning is to just try not to read stuff about yourself.”
In Salisbury’s article though, the man that should be expected to have some interest in the welfare for Phillies on-field personnel, Amaro, seemed to be resistant toward Biddle’s diagnosis.
Amaro this week acknowledged that Biddle had “concussion symptoms,” but added, “I don’t know if it was a full-blown concussion.” He went on to say, “That wasn’t the reason we gave him the break.”
What is it that the guy in charge of the Phillies is trying to convey there? Why does he continue to question the 23-year-old’s toughness? Does the general manager aspire to be a brain trauma expert?
Amaro’s doubtful critique of the scenario can’t benefit, in any fashion, a player that should still be a prized prospect to his team. There’s also no manner that ripping Biddle’s fortitude can help to boost his value to a different team.
So, what good can this do? None. Could it have a negative result? Maybe. Biddle and other players could take notice of Amaro’s resistance and opposition toward medical diagnosis and may develop resentment toward management.
While there have been plenty of reasons in recent years for fans to dislike the job Amaro has done and to call for his termination, perhaps there is no more appropriate reason to call for his removal from the team’s front office than a complete and demonstrable disregard for a player’s health.