Dontrelle Willis makes his return to the bigs tonight to face the Twins. Given how shaky D-Train has been for so long, it's a development that probably has our friend and Twins' fan Aaron Gleeman rather pleased. Given what Willis said in an interview with MLB.com this morning, however, the Tigers' opponents and whatever carrier insures Tigers' contracts can't be too pleased:
I was just playing bad," Willis said. "And that happens . . .Even when I went on the DL, I felt fine. You can ask anybody in here. I'm not a depressed guy. Maybe I'm hard on myself, but I wouldn't have gotten here if I wasn't. But there's a fine line to knowing what you can control and what you can't control. As far as how I feel, I don't have a condition. My condition is me going out there and playing baseball and having fun. If God doesn't want me to do it, then I'll find something else to do."
Except that the stated reason that Willis was on the disabled list to begin with was a condition (i.e. anxiety disorder). A condition that I can only assume allowed the Tigers to submit an insurance claim for the part of the $10 million the Tigers owed him while he was on the DL. A condition that allowed the Tigers to make a roster move that kept them from having to make tough decisions about what to do with a pitcher that couldn't seem to get anyone out.
Query: is there any way to test a team's assertion that a player has a given injury or disorder before putting a guy on the disabled list? If so, does anyone at Major League Baseball headquarters every bother to do so? Because the description, timing and duration of Willis' "anxiety disorder" doesn't pass the smell test. Such a thing cost Zack Greinke nearly a whole season in which he couldn't even be near the game for months. Maybe Willis' disorder wasn't so severe, but when a guy says "I felt fine" and "I was just playing bad" in reference to the time he was DL'd, someone ought to start asking some questions.