The Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies squared off yesterday, not just in one of the final games of the Spring Training schedule, but also in a bench clearing incident following former Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez’s first pitch to batter Troy Tulowitzki which hit the shortstop in the left elbow. Tulowitzki immediately began walking toward Jimenez after getting plunked, and the pitcher didn’t seem remorseful over what he had done, slapping his chest with his glove as he came forward to meet him.
After both benches and bullpens emptied, but the two warring factions were separated successfully. While Tulowitzki was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays on his left elbow, which came back negative, Jimenez stayed in the game, but had a miserable time failing to get through the fifth inning, walking five batters and giving up two home runs.
While many seem to believe that Jimenez threw at Tulowitzki intentionally, his lack of control all game might lend some credence to the Indians’ pitcher claiming the hit by pitch was accidental.
I didn’t have good control of my fastball. You guys could see. I walked the first guy probably on four pitches. [Tulowitzki] is one of the best hitters in the game. You have to try to go inside on him and that’s what I tried to do. The thing that got started was, he was calling me out [from the batters box]. I mean, I’m a man. If somebody calls me out, I have to go. He was calling me chicken. He was calling me names.
Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy had other ideas, main of which were rooted in hyperbole:
If there’s any suggestion that the ball got away, I don’t want to hear any of that. [It's] the most gutless act I’ve seen in 35 years in the game.
Unlike a lot of his decision making abilities, Tracy’s comments aren’t complete nonsense, as Jiminez certainly had motivation to throw at Tulowitzki.
More than a year ago, the Rockies began locking up their best players, but were slow to do the same for Jimenez. A terrible start to the season in 2011 began to suggest that maybe their reluctance was justified. Jimenez was eventually shipped to Cleveland, but that wasn’t the end of it. Last month, news before that before he was traded, Jimenez was upset over not being offered a contract while Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Jorge De La Rosa were all given extensions.
Tulowitzki then offered Jimenez some public advice, suggesting that he stop worrying about getting paid, and concentrate on playing baseball. He then went on to say that the pitcher didn’t make for the greatest of teammates.
You try to get a feel for a teammate, and we can’t get anything back. People ask, ‘Well, he’s your teammate, don’t you know what’s wrong with him? We tried to ask him. And we couldn’t get anything in return.
And then this happened yesterday:
So, now this will be a thing for a little while, but as Rockies Review suggests, maybe at the very least there will be a lesson in all of this:
However, the hope is that the incident helps Tulowitzki turn into a better leader. It should show him to to approach a situation, or how not to approach a situation. Maybe he needs to know when to tone down the passion. Maybe he needs to be more personal with his teammates.
Or maybe he has learned that his leadership is perfect in uncovering the passion-less. Maybe his leadership rubs the guys who don’t play with enough heart the wrong way. Maybe he doesn’t need to change anything. However, great players take lessons out of everything.
And The Rest
April Fool’s joke: Never, ever let Lance Berkman borrow the keys to your vehicle. Ever. But especially on April 1st. [MLB.com]
Not an April Fool’s joke: Johan Santana will be the New York Mets Opening Day starter. [ESPN.com]
Juan Rivera: RBI Machine. [Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness]
Talks between the San Francisco Giants and Matt Cain surrounding a contract extension are heating up, or as the British would maddeningly call it, hotting up. [Comcast SportsNet]
What you didn’t need to know about Spring Training standings, but now that you do, you can use it to make someone look stupid when they suggest that a preseason record is meaningful. And isn’t that what life is all about? Feeling good about making others looks stupid. [Baseball Nation]
More Jeff Sullivan here, as he takes a look at Jonny Venters’ slider. [Baseball Nation]
There’s a bobblehead museum at the new Miami Marlins stadium. [The Score]
Check out the inaugural PodCrash. [Crashburn Alley]
The Boston Red Sox have rounded out their rotation. [Over The Monster]
However, Boston’s bullpen isn’t quite as settled, with the team facing the possibility that Andrew Bailey starts the season on the Disabled List. [WEEI.com]
According to Jon Morosi, the Cleveland Indians are on the verge of a two year contract extension to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera that would be worth $16.5 million. The terms would cover Cabrera’s final year of arbitration eligibility and his first year of free agent eligibility. [Twitter]
The Texas Rangers bullpen is complete. Sort of. Kind of. Almost. [Baseball Time In Arlington]
Juan Pierre has made the Philadelphia Phillies 25 Man Roster. [Baseball Nation]
Brooks Baseball has added Pitch FX cards for umpires. [Brooks Baseball]
Finally, it’s Jamie Moyer through years of baseball cards. [CBS Sports]