On Sunday April 1, 2012 The Cleveland Indians played the Colorado Rockies in a spring training game. The Rockies won 12 to 10, but not without some sports drama. Cleveland’s pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hit his former teammate Troy Tulowitzki on the elbow with his first pitch to the batter during the first inning. After the pitch Tulowitzki dropped his bat and headed toward Jimenez, who left the mount and motioned his arms several times while heading toward Tulowitzki. This act cleared both team’s benches. While they were exchanging words the umpire and teammates got in between Tulowitzki and Jimenez and pulled them apart. Many feel that Jimenez’s pitch was intentional!
Evidently Tulowitzki and Jimenez did not like each other before this game. Last year Ubaldo Jimenez played for the Colorado Rockies. Not long ago Jimenez explained to Foxsports.com he was unhappy that Colorado did not offer him a contract extension but offered one to both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. This past July, after Jimenez was not offered a contract extension he was traded to Cleveland. Jimenez talked to the media about how he felt the team treated him but never mentioned any names. Tulowitzki also talked to media about his former teammate Jimenez, and mentioned how he thought Jimenez should move on and not dwell on things. In the Denverpost Tulowitzki was quoted talking about last year, “For him to come out and badmouth an organization that I have a lot of respect for and take a lot of pride in being here, yeah, you are going to be upset. You don’t spend the portion of your career with a team then the next year come out and say something. I would have addressed my teammates directly and handled it from there because we were all wondering what was going on.”
After the hit and confrontation during the game, Tulowitzki was taken to the hospital to get X-rays done. Luckily for him the results were negative. After the game Ubaldo Jimenez tried to explain himself. He said, “It was the first inning and I didn’t have good control of my fastball. As you guys can see I walked the first guy on 4 pitches.” Jimenez expressed that he did not want to hurt Tulowitzki. On Monday when asked about the pitch again, Jimenez added, “Players are hit by pitches every day. With a guy like him, you have to go inside. I can’t get the ball to go where I want every time.” Jimenez also said that he would not apologize to Tulowitzki for the hit.
Indians manager, Manny Acta stuck up for his pitcher when he said that Jimenez’s pitches were “pretty wild all day.”
Tulowitzki said that he did not know if the hit was intentional or not. While talking with the media Troy Tulowitzki said, “You guys will have to talk to him and see if it was intentional or unintentional.” He was also quoted saying, “From my take, as soon as he hit me it just seemed like he wanted a little more. That’s when the confrontation started.” To me, this quote sounds like Tulowitzki did believe Jimenez’s bad pitch was intentional.
The Rockies manager, Jim Tracy defiantly believed that Jimenez hit Tulowitzki on purpose. Jim said, “Five days before Opening Day, you’re going to take a pot shot like that? It’s the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve lost all respect for him, and that’s a very difficult thing for me to say with all the players I’ve had to manage over the years.” Jim described the event as “the most gutless act” he had ever seen in baseball.
The Commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig was at the game. The League reviewed the event on Monday April 2, 2012 and decided to fine Ubaldo Jimenez and suspend him for 5 season games.
Today Jimenez went to the players’ union and requested an appeal of his suspension. ESPN, The Associated Press stated that Jimenez is scheduled to start the Cleveland’s second game of the season this Saturday.
Personally, I feel that if this hit was not intentional, then Jimenez would not have rushed off the bound and headed for Tulowitzki the way he did. Knowing that there was bad blood between the two just this past summer, I cannot help but feel that this hit was on purpose. I am very surprised that Jimenez was not ejected from the game.
Terms to know:
Manager: in MLB the head coach is called the manager.