J.P. Arencibia strikes out yet again in ripping Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst

Chris Zelkovich
Chris Zelkovich

As if a pile of strikeouts that are approaching Dave Kingman status, a Mendoza-like .216 batting average and some spotty defence weren't enough evidence of a troubled season, Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia really stepped into it Thursday morning.

Setting off his own July 4 fireworks, Arencibia made his biggest gaffe in a season filled with them: He took on the media, specifically Sportsnet analysts Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst.

Now, there's an old saying about never picking a fight with guys who buy ink by the barrel. In this case, Arencibia, he of the 92 strikeouts in 283 at-bats entering Thursday's game against Detroit, should have known better than to take potshots at guys with microphones and transmitters. His chances of winning are substantially below a .216 percentage.

Arencibia went on Sportsnet The Fan 590 radio to criticize Zaun and Hayhurst's criticisms of his play. Listen here: Worse yet, he couldn't resist a few personal shots against his perceived tormentors.

He referred to the pair's less-than-stellar talents on the field and couldn't resist bringing up Zaun's link to baseball's PED investigations.

“One, not a lot of us, including myself, respect someone that used performance-enhancing drugs and was able to stick around as a below average player in the major leagues," he said. ``I've worked hard. I've never done anything, I've never put anything in my body and I go out there and bust my butt every day."

Though Zaun's PED use was never proven, though plenty of smoke still lingers, this still counts as a major cheap shot. As for their talents, couldn't the same thing be said about Arencibia's boss, John Gibbons?

So, if in Arencibia's opinion, Zaun and Hayhurst aren't qualified to comment because of their minimal baseball skills, one wonders if he holds the same opinion of his manager. He might also have noticed that Zaun's .252 career batting average is 32 points higher than his own.

In Hayhurst's regular spot on The Fan later in the morning, the former pitcher took the high road in saying Arencibia had every right to feel the way he does and every right to express his opinions.

But, Hayhurst said, both he and Zaun are paid to give theirs and that's what they've been doing -- quite well in my books.

``I feel bad for the guy," Hayhurst said. ``When you don't live up to expectations you're going to get called on it."

Arencibia made two mistakes here: He took on guys who have the last word and he made his case at a time when the best thing to do is keep quiet so people won't notice your .216 batting average so much.

He'd be a lot further ahead if he concentrated on improving his play and less on what people are saying about him.