LeCroy Is Touched by Fans' Support

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 10, 2006

Matthew LeCroy isn't normally one to open his mail from fans during the season. But he decided to peek at the dozen letters that had arrived this week at RFK Stadium. What he found was an outpouring of emotion over the way he handled his removal from a game May 25 against the Houston Astros.

That day, Manager Frank Robinson pulled LeCroy, who was catching, in mid-inning after LeCroy made his second error and the Astros had stolen seven bases. Afterward, Robinson emotionally apologized for putting LeCroy in a position in which he would fail.

"They just said they liked the way I handled the situation," LeCroy said. "They liked that I didn't say something stupid about the manager, and that I took it like a man. It was pretty satisfying for me."

LeCroy has not caught since that game, though Robinson said he hasn't ruled out using him in the future.

Jackson Miffed

When Damian Jackson made an error in center field Thursday night, he said a fan yelled, "Get in the game!" as he came off the field. Jackson shot back, "Who are you talking about?" before ducking into the dugout, where he was met by Robinson, who gave him an earful.

Jackson said Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins, who advanced on the play, "made me look stupid." But he said the Nationals didn't get home until about 4 a.m. Thursday morning, and fans don't always appreciate the stresses of big league life.

"He understands this lifestyle, doesn't he?" Jackson said of the fan. "He clearly doesn't. It's tougher than a lot of people think it is. . . . Every time it's thrown out there, it's baseball players with high salaries crying." . . .

The first 15,000 fans at today's game will receive a likeness of closer Chad Cordero. The giveaway comes at an appropriate time: Headed into last night's game, Cordero had saved his last nine opportunities, ever since Robinson asked him on the mound in Chicago, "Are you the man for the job?"

"I think I kind of needed that," Cordero said.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company