Posted by: Jeremy | June 19, 2009

Willis gets some more time off


An apparently stressed-out D-Train

An apparently stressed-out D-Train

For the second time this season, Dontrelle Willis is headed to the disabled list due to an undisclosed anxiety disorder. Like the last time, he’s claiming it’s merely a mechanical issue and the Tigers are insisting it’s more complicated. Also like the last time, I’m not buying it. If this was really about Willis’ well-being, why did Detroit activate him in the first place and why are they disabling him after he walked 18 hitters in his past three starts?

The legitimacy of the Willis situation aside, anxiety disorders seem to be becoming the hip new “injury” of 2009. It started with Zack Greinke a couple years ago (which was certainly legitimate), and this season Willis, Khalil Greene and Joey Votto have all spent time on the disabled list with anxiety-related conditions. Greene’s was reportedly performance-related, though Votto’s doesn’t seem to be — he was hitting .357 with eight homers when he took some time off, after all. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see if this trend continues to develop.

If these sorts of issues are going to keep popping up, MLB might have to find a way to determine what’s legit and what’s not. Not to sound insensitive, but in my opinion, Willis’ does not. Greinke and Votto’s on the other hand, do seem to be legitimate concerns. Greene’s, reportedly “performance-related”, also seem questionable. If his fear of failure and subsequent .198 batting average are enough to earn him a trip to the DL, then what’s stopping any player in a slump from being disabled for the same reason?

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