Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was fuming the day after Philadelphia Phillies skipper Joe Girardi requested umpires check Max Scherzer for foreign substances.
“It’s embarrassing for Girardi, it’s embarrassing for the Phillies, it’s embarrassing for baseball,” Rizzo said in an interview Wednesday with 106.7 The Fan in Washington.
During the fourth inning of the Nationals’ win Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, umpires stopped play to inspect the three-time Cy Young winner at the behest of Girardi.
It was the third time Scherzer was checked by umpires.
Under MLB’s new rules, managers can request that umpires check an opposing pitcher – but only if there is reason to suspect.
Rizzo called Girardi’s request “gamesmanship” and suggested the Phillies were trying to knock Scherzer off his game. Girardi said after the game that he had “never seen (Scherzer) wipe his head” like he did Tuesday.
“It had nothing to do with substances, he had no probable cause to ask for. The umps shouldn’t have allowed it, but it happened and you have to deal with it,” Rizzo said Wednesday.
Rizzo called Girardi a “con artist” and said the manager has “been doing that for years on TV.”
Asked by the hosts if he wasn’t a fan of Girardi, Rizzo clarified.
“No, I love Joe Girardi,” Rizzo said. “I’ve seen him play since he was in high school at Peoria, Illinois, scouted him at Northwestern. I know him well. But, I know him well,” really seeming to stress the word.