FORT MYERS, Fla. – Tim Wakefield addressed the departure of his dear friend, Doug Mirabelli, with the media today for the first time. Wakefield described his reaction to Mirabelli’s release as “shocked. Very shocked.”
“I don’t know what else to say about it. I was on the field and someone came and told me that Dougie has been released. I’m saddened by the whole situation, but it’s a business decision on their part. I feel like [Kevin] Cash can do a good job, but I’m really going to miss Doug especially with the way he’s handled me and the comfort level. I’ll miss his friendship. We’ve been together for eight years. We went through a lot of stuff together. It’s unfortunate it happened that way but we have to get past that and understand that I’m still an employee here.
“Doug was caught off guard, too. By no means do I want to take anything away from Kevin Cash. He did a great job with me last year. I think he can handle the job. He works so hard on watching me and watching me throw. That’s hard to do when you’re catching a knuckleball behind the plate and trying to watch me. He was very good at it. As far as his catching ability just because he caught me it didn’t mean he couldn’t catch anybody else. I feel he has the best hands I’ve ever seen. Not only me, but he’s one of the best receivers out there.”
Asked whether this felt like 2006, when Mirabelli was traded, Wakefield said, “I think it’s worse now knowing he might not be back. More than likely he won’t be back, which is pretty sad. Dougie was a great teammate. He was not only my personal catcher but a lot of guys in that clubhouse respected his opinion. He watched other hitters. He watched other pitchers. There were even times when David [Ortiz] would be hitting and he’d say ‘Hey you’re doing this wrong.’ He cared about everybody on this team. Even though he was a backup catcher, his opinion was important to everybody.”
Wakefield said Mirabelli would be an excellent major league manager some day. He also thinks someone could pick him up. According to one scout, the Tigers appear to have some interest.