Mora not happy about lack of playing time
Trembley disagrees with veteran's claim of being disrespected
BALTIMORE -- It wasn't enough to say it once. Melvin Mora griped about his playing time for several minutes with a pair of reporters on Sunday, then he repeated himself for the next wave of media members. The veteran had a message he wanted to get across, and it was largely a sense that he'd been disrespected.
Mora, the longest-tenured Oriole, was upset that manager Dave Trembley had sat him down three times in a four-day span. The two-time All-Star used the word disrespect repeatedly, and he even said at one point that this is a case of "What have you done for me lately?"
"That's what I feel like, that I don't have respect. And I say it publicly," Mora said of Trembley's lineup choice. "Like I've said, it's not my decision. Whatever he wants to do, he can do it. I just know that whenever he needs me, I'll be there. If he wants me to pinch-hit, I'll pinch-hit and help my teammates.
"You can ask every single person here, every young guy, if I treat them different. I always try to be happy with the guys they bring here, try to make them comfortable in the big leagues and try to explain how the Yankees are going to pitch to them in tough situations. That's my job. And my job isn't to go into his office and tell him, 'I want to play tomorrow.' That's not my job. Whatever he wants to do there, he can do it.
"But like I told you before, I need to have my respect. This is not a guy who just came to the Orioles. This is a guy who's been here for nine years busting his [behind] for the organization."
One clubhouse source said that Mora was offered extra batting practice on Saturday, which he declined because he said he didn't expect to play on Sunday.
Trembley, for his part, said that he didn't want to get into a war of words, but he also added that two coaches have spoken to Mora about his situation and that both were rebuffed.
Mora has been struggling through one of his least productive seasons, one that has seen him set a career-long homerless drought. The third baseman is on pace to record the lowest slugging percentage of his career and his lowest on-base percentage since 2000, twin factors that play into Trembley's thought process.
"I'm disappointed that he feels that way, but it's really nothing for me to comment on," said Trembley. "I'm not going to get into a 'he said, she said.' I'm not going to say anything bad about anybody. It's too bad that people's feelings are hurt or that people feel disrespected. That was never my intent. I'm going to do the best I can for the team. I've never taken a stance of anything personal toward anybody, and I think everybody understands that."
Everybody, perhaps, except for Mora. The longtime Oriole is entering the final season of a lucrative extension he signed in May 2006, and at times on Sunday, he spoke of his Baltimore tenure in the past tense. The Orioles hold an option year for Mora, but the native of Venezuela is already thinking about moving on at season's end.
"Sometimes, when you have to move on, you have to move on," Mora said. "Whatever I'm going to be next year, I'll [still] be an Oriole. It doesn't matter. I'll be an Oriole, because I'll always know where I'm coming from. The Orioles organization gave me a chance, they gave me an opportunity to have a successful career here. I think I'm never going to forget the Orioles, especially for all the people that supported me for a long time here."
Mora, who was acquired in a trade with the Mets during the 2000 season, fell back on his accomplishments as a rationale for his discontent. The 37-year-old spoke frankly about all the pain he's played through over the years and said that he expected better treatment as his career wound down.
"I played last year with injury. I played the first half with a bone sticking in my nerve in my shoulder," he said. "Before the All-Star break in Boston, I took three shots in my shoulder so I can come back for Trembley. I took the three shots because I think he needs me for the second half. ... I'm healthy now. Whatever decision he makes, I respect his decisions. But that's the way I feel. I feel like I did everything for him."
Trembley, repeatedly pressed on the issue, elected to take the high road.
"I can understand that. He's played here for a long time," he said. "He's been a very good player. But most of the times, day games after night games, Melvin has not played. It's like I've said: We'll do our very best to get guys in there, to rotate it around somewhat and try to give everybody a shot. ... That's just the way the game goes."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.