So, a couple of weeks ago, Daniel Hudson ran his mouth a little on the subject of Justin Upton leading the National League in being hit-by-pitches last season.
In an interview with Arizona Sports KTAR 620, Daniel Hudson had the following to say, when he was asked about the number of times Justin Upton was hit last season:
“If it’s a starting pitcher, remember, he’s got to hit. “They either have to hit their spots, or expect something in return.”
This was on a Monday.
On the Tuesday, Daniel Hudson spoke to MLB.com, where he clarified what he meant by his comments. But, wasn’t willing to take them back entirely:
“The scouting report may be to throw him inside, pound him inside, but it comes to a point where you either hit your spot or you don’t, and when it becomes a problem is when you do it more than once in a game, more than once in a series. Then it becomes a problem. I said what I said and I stand by it, but like I said, it got perceived a little bit different than I actually said it.”
And, that same day, Luis Gonzalez (who knows something about playing baseball in a Diamondbacks’ uniform) took to the air and voiced his opinion on the matter:
“You know what I do now, I go in the locker room and I pull him to the side and I say ‘shut your mouth, don’t say that, and you just do it on the field because you earn more respect. Because now, if that happens in a game and he doesn’t do it, you’ve got it on tape…and fans are listening to this and they’re going ‘well why the heck would he say that if he’s not going to back it up?’”
It was interesting to note that, nowhere in either session with the media, was anyone saying that the Diamondbacks would be against the concept of retaliation.
And, interestingly, in both Hudson and Gonzalez’s speeches to the media, they indicated that plunking an opponent in retaliation had to be timed appropriately, so that when a game was on the line, opponents weren’t getting a free pass to first base.
So, when today – in the first game of a double-header, Justin Upton found himself plunked for the second time in as many days in the fourth inning when the game was knotted at 0-0, immediate retaliation wasn’t practical – even in a meaningless spring training game – seeing as wins have been so hard for the Diamondbacks to come by. But, in the top of the 7th, with the Diamondbacks down 2-0 to the Padres, there were two outs, Will Venable found himself trotting to first base after being hit by a pitch delivered by David Hernandez, a RHP out of the Dbacks’ pen.
Following the incident, warnings were issued to both sides. And, hey, if Ozzie Guillen can get himself ejected during a spring training game, a little beanball might be hard to sneak past the umpires.
It looks like Luis Gonzalez didn’t have to worry that his pitchers wouldn’t back up their words.
After the game, Hernandez spoke to MLB.com:
“For me, in the spring, I’ve been trying to get the ball in to lefties. That’s been a weakness for me. I got the ball in to the first lefty I faced. That’s something I’ve got to work on.”
That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.
“As a pitcher, you definitely have to protect your guys, but I was trying to go in and it got away and it hit him.”
No, really, He’s sticking to it:
And, just in case he needed back-up, there is at least one other person who is singing the same song:
No, that’s not highly suspicious, guys. Not at all.
As was pointed out at the official site, the Diamondbacks play the Padres 18 times during the upcoming season.
And with the 2011 NL HBP Leader Justin Upton (19) playing for the Diamondbacks and 2011 MLB (and AL) HBP Leader Carlos Quentin (23) now playing for the Padres, everyone who is planning on coming to the plate during their match-ups should likely invest in some high-quality body armor.
And, if you’re thinking about making a drinking game out of this season’s plunkings…. you’re probably going to need a very large bottle.