Padres OF Quentin defends himself after brawl
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Carlos Quentin has been hit by pitches 116 times in his big league career and said he had never rushed the mound until Zack Greinke plunked him on the left shoulder Thursday night.
Quentin took a few steps toward the Los Angeles pitcher, Greinke appeared to say something — and that was enough to spark a wild fight between the Dodgers and San Diego Padres that didn’t even end when the game did.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Quentin charged the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, who is 6-2 and 195 pounds. They dropped their shoulders and collided, and Quentin tackled the pitcher to the grass.
Quentin and Greinke ended up at the bottom of a huge scrum as players from both sides ran onto the field and jumped in.
Greinke wound up with a broken left collarbone, leaving the Dodgers so furious that Matt Kemp confronted Quentin nose-to-nose as they were leaving Petco Park following a game Los Angeles won 3-2 thanks to Juan Uribe’s pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning.
Greinke twice hit Quentin with pitches when they were in the American League. And whatever Greinke said Thursday “was the final straw,” Quentin said. “That could have been avoided as well.”
If the pitcher hadn’t said anything, “There’s a chance I don’t” charge the mound, Quentin said. “Like I said, there is a history there, which is the reason I reacted like I did. Who knows what happens if he doesn’t say anything or if he motions that it wasn’t intentional?”
Asked if he expects repercussions, he added: “You want to look at my history? It’s never happened to me before. You know how many pitches I’ve been hit by? So, I don’t know. You can tell me.”
Quentin was hit by a pitch above the right wrist by Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario on Tuesday and had to leave the game. He sat out Wednesday night’s game.
The teams play a three-game series at Dodger Stadium starting next Monday night.
“We’ll see what happens,” Quentin said. “Obviously, they are not happy losing one of their starting pitchers. That’s unfortunate for their organization. Except, there is a history there. I will just continue to play how I’ve always played. If there’s retaliation, there is.”
Greinke had his left arm in a sling and a dazed look on his face as he told his side of the story after the game.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was livid, saying it shouldn’t have happened because Quentin was hit on a 3-2 pitch in the sixth inning of a one-run game.
“That’s just stupid is what it is,” Mattingly said. “He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. If he plays before Greinke pitches, something’s wrong. He caused the whole thing. Nothing happens if he goes to first base.”
Quentin said his history with Greinke has been “well-documented. That situation could have been avoided. You’d have to ask Zack about that.”
“I’ve been hit by many pitches,” said Quentin, plunked more often than any other major league hitter since the start of 2008. “Some have been intentional, some have not been. For the amount I have been hit and my hitting style, I’m going to repeat: I have never reacted that way.”
Kemp, one of four players ejected following the fight, found Quentin in the hallway near the players’ exit as they were leaving the ballpark after the game. The 6-foot-4, 214-pound Kemp briefly went nose-to-nose with Quentin before Padres pitcher Clayton Richard, who is 6-5 and 245 pounds, stepped between them. Police and security moved in to break it up.
Both teams said the melee could have been avoided.
“I never hit him on purpose,” Greinke said. “I never thought about hitting him on purpose. He always seems to think that I’m hitting him on purpose, but that’s not the case. That’s all I can really say about it.”
Asked if there was bad blood between the teams, Greinke said: “Now there probably is. I don’t know if there was beforehand.”
He said the injury was “awful. It’s silly that something could happen like that. I’m disappointed.”
When the players were finally pulled apart, Quentin was led off the field by teammate Mark Kotsay. Greinke was checked by Mattingly and a trainer before walking off toward the dugout, his uniform top disheveled after it had been pulled over his head by Quentin.
Greinke lowered his left (non-throwing) shoulder into Quentin and took the brunt of the blow as they collided. The right-hander, who had his wife and in-laws in the stands, joined the Dodgers as a free agent in the offseason, signing a $147 million, six-year contract.
He missed time during spring training with a tender right elbow and the flu. Quentin was slowed by a balky right knee after having offseason surgery.
After the teams started going back to the dugouts and bullpens, Jerry Hairston Jr. came running across the field yelling and pointing at someone in the San Diego dugout and had to be restrained.
Kemp was angry after finding out the severity of Greinke’s injury.
“I’m asking Greinke if he’s OK and he said his shoulder’s messed up. That kind of took me over the edge right there,” Kemp said.
“I think Carlos Quentin went to Stanford, something like that?” Kemp said. “I heard there’s smart people at Stanford. That wasn’t too smart. Greinke didn’t do anything wrong. That stuff happens in the minor leagues. It doesn’t happen in the big leagues.”
The benches and bullpens emptied again, leading to pushing and shoving. It did not appear any punches were thrown, but suspensions and fines are sure to follow.
Quentin, Kemp, Hairston and Greinke were ejected. Los Angeles reliever Chris Capuano was given all the time he needed to warm up when play finally resumed after a delay of about 15 minutes.
Following the game, the Dodgers announced that Greinke has a broken collarbone. It’s uncertain how long he will be sidelined.
Greinke plunked Quentin once in 2008 and once in 2009, according to STATS. Coming into the game, Quentin was 6 for 24 with three homers against Greinke.
Quentin was plunked an AL-high 23 times in 2011 with the Chicago White Sox. Greinke has hit 46 batters since his big league debut in 2004.
After play resumed, Alexi Amarista pinch-ran for Quentin, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Yonder Alonso’s single to tie the game at 2.
Uribe homered to left on a 3-2 pitch from Luke Gregerson (1-1) with one out in the eighth to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.
Matt Guerrier (1-0) retired Jesus Guzman on a fly ball to end the seventh with runners on first and second. Kenley Jensen pitched the ninth for his first save.
Former San Diego star Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer deep into the seats down the right-field line with two outs in the first off Jason Marquis, his first.
Marquis allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings, struck out five and walked four.
NOTES: The Dodgers took two of three from the Padres. ... The Padres open a three-game home series against Colorado on Friday, with RHP Tyson Ross (0-1, 4.50) scheduled to face RHP Jon Garland (1-0, 3.00). ... The Padres dropped to 2-7, matching last year’s start.