I wrote this back on January 27, 2006:


You might argue that it’s unfair for that the local press to make a story out of the fact that Juan Dominguez missed a flight to Rangers mini-camp this week, especially since he still managed to make it to Arlington on schedule, and that he was carrying 15 pounds more than the organization wants him to, given that the games won’t count for another 10 weeks.

You might instead argue that Dominguez, based on his track record, has waived the right to have stories like that overlooked by the media.

I have moments where I fall into each camp. But it doesn’t change the fact that a development like this makes me mad.

It makes me mad because I want Dominguez to get it right. He’s as skillful as any pitcher on the staff, among the most talented pitchers this organization has ever developed. I want him to recognize how gifted he is and realize how tragic it would be if he didn’t do everything he could to make the most of his gifts.

It makes me mad because I’m afraid the club might run out of patience with Dominguez — and I’m not suggesting they should — and give up on him.

It makes me mad because it feels almost inescapable at this point that Dominguez is going to disappoint us, one way or another. Either because he won’t fulfill his potential, or he’ll fulfill it in another uniform.

It upsets me a lot, because I want Dominguez to be dependable, to be focused, to want to be as good as I want him to be. I don’t know if it’s an issue of emotional maturity or genetic wiring, and I wonder whether, in either case, he can change. And don’t get me wrong — missing a flight this week isn’t why I feel this way, or why I’m writing this today. Neither is the weight issue. Those two matters surfacing in the paper this week simply serve as a reminder that the greatness that Dominguez is capable of — at least in my opinion — seems to be something we all want for him much worse than he wants it. I don’t know — maybe we want it more than Dominguez can want it for himself.


Here’s where the above is inapplicable as far as Edinson Volquez is concerned.

Volquez hasn’t tried anyone’s patience to nearly the extent that Dominguez did.

And I don’t get the sense that Volquez is bound to disappoint us.

But a lot of the rest of it applies. The talent is there. The accountability has been all season, a key component of the organization’s unconventional program for him in 2007, a program that he had bought into with the flyingest of colors, but on the doorstep of a return to the big leagues that might even be considered triumphant, it lapsed. And that’s inexcusable. Showing up late for work two months into a four-month rebuilding would have been bad enough. Doing so knowing he was two days away from his first big league appearance of the year is just about unthinkable.

I was as excited as anyone to see Volquez continue the progression in Baltimore tomorrow night. But what kind of message would it send to John Rheinecker and Kameron Loe, not to mention Eric Hurley and Armando Galarraga and Michael Schlact and Evan Reed and Neftali Feliz and Wilmer Font and a hundred others, if the Rangers overlooked Sunday’s incident and put a big league ball in Volquez’s hand on Tuesday?

Volquez pitched right behind Dominguez in the Rangers rotation for a brief period in 2005. This is no time for him to follow Dominguez once again, and I don’t think he will. Volquez has earned a ton of credit for what he has accomplished since March, buying into the organization’s unusual, gutsy program. He has taken a lot of hard lessons this year and accepted them, learned from them, and capitalized on them, in a professional manner.

For the Rangers’ sake, for Volquez’s sake, and for yours and mine, I sure hope he responds well to this lesson too, without having to reflect like this on the indignity with which Juan Dominguez treated his own career.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at

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