Cleveland Indians pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez plunked ex-Rockies teammate Troy Tulowitzki during a spring training game Sunday, resulting in both benches clearing and Tulowitzki's status for Opening Day is up in the air.
Jimenez claims his fastball got away from him, but could it have a war of words between Jimenez and Tulowitzki that led to the plunking?
As the Denver Post reported, Jimenez called out his former teammates this spring and Tulowitzki was outraged by the way Jimenez handled the situation.
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, Tulowitzki said, according to the Denver Post. I would have addressed my teammates directly (last year) and handled it from there because we were all wondering what was going on.
Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy was incensed over the pitch that hit Tulowitzki in his left elbow and demanded Jimenez be suspended.
The former Rockies hurler wasn't even ejected from the game in Arizona.
It's the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball. I have lost all respect for him. To do something like that and walk down off the mound, and if there's any suggestion whatsoever that the ball got away, I don't want to hear any of that s---, Tracu said, according to the Denver Post. He intentionally threw at him. He should be suspended. I am going to be very disappointed if he doesn't get suspended. He deserves to be.
What did Tulowitzki think of the drilling?
You guys will have to talk to him and see if it was intentional or unintentional, Tulowitzki told ESPN.com. I didn't expect anything and the emotions took over. A couple of words were exchanged but nothing more than that.
Jimenez said he was sorry, even though at the time of the incident it looked as if he edged Tulowitzki on and wanted to start a fight. Jimenez said Tulowitzki called him a chicken and that's what led to him escalating the situation.
Of course I'm going to be sorry, he's one of the superstar players in the game, Jimenez said after the game. You don't want to be in the position that you're going to take the guy out of the game. He was my ex-teammate.
X-rays were negative on Tulowitzki, and although ESPN.com reported the Rockies shortstop thinks he'll be ready for Opening Day, nothing is certain at this point.
While both benches cleared after Tulowitzki was hit, a brawl did not erupt between the Indians and Rockies.