When a Major Leaguer is rehabbing in the Minors, he buys the spread.
One of baseball's unwritten rules, along with not talking to a pitcher throwing a no-hitter, is that major-league players on rehabilitation assignments purchase a post-game meal for their often underpaid minor-league teammates.
"For lunch they are eating peanut butter and jelly and stuff like that," said Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson, who bought the Jupiter Hammerheads a meal from local favorite Pyrogrill during a rehab stint in early June.
"I was here a couple of years ago so I know how that is. It's not fun. After the games you are pretty much stuck with nothing. You go home. Usually for the night games you get stuck with Wendy's or something that's open late. For them to get to get a good meal - it's huge I think."
Two days before Johnson picked up his spread, the Hammerheads were treated to a post-game meal from Outback Steakhouse, courtesy of rehabbing reliever Carlos Martinez.
That was the fourth time this season the Hammerheads had an Outback meal waiting for them. They've also enjoyed spreads from Park Avenue BBQ & Grille and P.F. Chang's. Packed with enough steak, chicken and shrimp to feed the 25-man roster and the coaching staff, those meals can exceed $500.
The spread also helps ease the pain of sending a starter to the bench.
"They are getting paid their normal salary, which is unbelievable, and they are coming in and basically taking someone's innings here," Mets reliever Nick Abel said. "So it's their way to kind of making up for that."
And that is the way it should be. But the continual feeding of the Hammerheads isn't exactly what I was hoping for from our pitching staff this season.