MLB players being benched for a lack of hustle isn’t particularly a new thing. Typically, though, when it happens, the player is at least told why.
There seemed to be some confusion in that department between Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and second baseman Cesar Hernandez. In Sunday’s game, Hernandez hit a fly ball off the wall that he watched, thinking it was a home run. He only reached first, but ultimately scored on a home run by Rhys Hoskins.
Hernandez was not lifted from the game, though Kapler was critical of his lack of hustle after the game. Subsequently, Hernandez was left out of Monday’s lineup, with Kapler citing that lack of hustle as the reason.
Just one problem: that came as news to Hernandez, who claimed Kapler had told him it was unrelated.
Very odd sequence just now. Gabe Kapler, in his office with reporters, said César Hernández is benched because he did not run hard yesterday. But Hernández then said he was told by Kapler that it had nothing to do with yesterday.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 26, 2019
Kapler said he would clarify with Hernandez that the benching was in response to Sunday, but it’s still an odd look. Sure, common sense might have dictated to Hernandez that the two things were connected, but that clearly didn’t happen. Maybe the wires simply got crossed. It still doesn’t explain why Hernandez wasn’t simply pulled from Sunday’s game, though.
Interestingly, a similar thing happened to one of Philadelphia’s divison rivals earlier this year. In that instance, it was the player who thought it was disciplinary, while the manager denied it.