Ubaldo: “I shouldn’t be” suspended
UPDATE: Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez has been suspended five games by Major League Baseball and fined an undisclosed amount. Manager Manny Acta said the pitcher will appeal the suspension and is still scheduled to make his first start of the season as planned on Saturday. Check Indians.com for more on this story. The following article was posted Monday morning, before Jimenez learned that he had been suspended. — JB
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Ubaldo Jimenez leaned back in his chair inside the Indians’ clubhouse on Monday morning, calmly disagreeing with the notion that a suspension was warranted for his part in Sunday’s altercation with the Rockies.
In his first outing against his former tammates, Jimenez struck Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the left elbow with a fastball, flaring tempers and inciting a bench-clearing episode at Salt River Fields. The pitcher insists the pitch was errant, and not the result of the bitter exchange of words in a series of reports throughout Spring Training.
“Hit by pitches happen every day in the game,” Jimenez said on Monday.”It’s not a surprise that somebody gets hit, especially a guy like him. You have to try to go inside on him.”
There were plenty of people who felt this particular hit batsmen was indeed an intentional act on Jimenez’s part. Rockies manager Jim Tracy reacted furiously, demanding that the right-hander be suspended for his actions. Colorado provided Major League Baseball with video of the incident and league officials are currently in the process investigating the matter.
Jimenez did not feel he deserved a suspension.
“I shouldn’t be,” Jimenez said. “I can’t control what people say. People act like this is the first time that somebody got hit. It happens in the game. That’s part of the game. It’s always been part of the game.”
Following Sunday’s events, Indians manager Manny Acta also did not believe a suspension was necessary, especialy because no players were ejected from the game.
“Why?” said Acta, when asked if he was worried Jimenez might be suspended. “Do you know if it was intentional? Nobody knows. I don’t know anything behind it. I don’t know of any history.”
The Indians acquired Jimenez from the Rockies at the July 31 Trade Deadline last season, when the pitcher stumbled through a 10-13 showing with a 4.68 ERA. This spring, Jimenez has criticized the Colorado organization in various reports, hinting at unfair treatment as a Minor Leaguer and a feeling of disrespect over the contract he was given.
In response to Jimenez’s comments, Tulowitzki and Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez were among those who had choice words for the pitcher in a variety of published reports this spring. That provided the backdrop for Sunday, when Tulowitzki was in the lineup and Gonzalez sat out due to stomach issues.
Tulowitzki was Colorado’s third hitter in the first inning and Jimenez sent his first pitch to the shortstop high and inside, where it struck his left arm. Tulowitzki began yelling at Jimenez, who dropped his glove, ran off the mound and seemingly dared the shortstop to charge. The benches emptied, but no punches were thrown and the situation was calmed after several minutes.
Tulowitzki left the game to have his elbow examined at a local hospital and X-rays came back negative for any structural damage.
Jimenez said he had no plans of reaching out to Tulowitzki to apologize, even though the pitcher insisted he did not hit the shortstop on purpose.
“No, why?” Jimenez said. “He was calling me [names]. I said already that I didn’t mean to hit him. It was a pitch that got away. I had five walks in the game. I was everywhere.”
During his postgame tirade over the incident, Tracy said he “lost respect for him.”
Jimenez admitted he was taken aback by Tracy’s strong words.
“I can’t control what people say,” Jimenez said. “Whatever they think, just leave it like that. … I mean, I probably was a little surprised to hear that, but that’s OK.”
The incident at Salt River Fields served as a sour ending to a disappointing spring showing for Jimenez, who went 1-4 with a 7.43 ERA in seven Cactus League outings. In his final start, the right-hander gave up six runs on four hits, including two home runs, and ended with five walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Needless to say, Jimenez is thrilled to put this spring in the rear-view mirror.
“I’m glad this is over,” Jimenez said. “Spring Training is over. Now we’re going to the fun part — the season. That’s where everything counts. I’m really excited for the season.”