Pirates notebook: Beanballs escalate tension against Reds
By Travis Sawchik
Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 6:21 p.m.
CINCINNATI — Pirates second baseman Neil Walker's heartbeat accelerated in the ninth inning Monday. Walker had four-10ths of a second to identify an Aroldis Chapman fastball that traveled toward his head at 100 mph and dive out of its path.
Walker picked himself up, took a moment, and stepped back in the box. He struck out swinging on the next pitch, which found the strike zone.
Walker left wondering about the intent of the pitch. The Pirates responded Tuesday when Charlie Morton hit Reds leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo in his calf with his first pitch. Morton also plunked former Pirate Xavier Paul in the fifth.
Brushback pitches and hit batsmen have become a frequent part of games between the teams. Walker was one of 10 batters hit by a pitch in the series May 31-June 2 at PNC Park. Entering Tuesday's game, there have been 15 hit batsmen — nine Reds, six Pirates — in the clubs' past eight meetings.
“You try to give players the benefit of the doubt, but given the history between us and Cincinnati, it makes you wonder,” Walker said. “Balls should not be anywhere near anybody's head. I was hit by (Mat) Latos last time at our place. I was fine with it, because he hit me right in the butt. … It's tough to get me fired up about things, but when you see a 100 mph fastball come near your face you have to wonder a little bit.”
Baseball America released an updated list of the Pirates' top 10 prospects. First-round pick Austin Meadows ranked third, and fellow first-rounder Reese McGuire ranked sixth. Jameson Taillon (No. 1), Gregory Polanco (No. 2), Josh Bell (No. 4), Tyler Glasnow (No. 5), Alen Hanson (No. 7), Nick Kingham (No. 8), Luis Heredia (No. 9) and Tony Sanchez (No. 10) rounded out the updated top 10.
Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to pitch a full bullpen session Thursday. He will throw breaking balls for the first time since leaving a start June 5 with forearm discomfort.
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates sign free agent pitcher Volquez
- First base options thinning as winter meetings go on
- Pirates not yet talking extensions with Alvarez, Walker