Lovullo: Intentionally hitting batters ‘not something I necessarily believe in’

Jun 12, 2018, 4:34 PM | Updated: 6:04 pm
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)...
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Whether you refer to it as beanball or classic baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo wasn’t exactly pleased with what took place Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I have obviously heard what their starting pitcher said after last nights game that he intentionally hit one of our players,” Lovullo told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo on Tuesday.

“It’s not something I necessarily believe in. I don’t believe in taking a baseball and throwing it as hard as you can at somebody to retaliate.”

Facing a five-run deficit in the top of the seventh, D-backs reliever Braden Shipley hit Pirates infielder Josh Harrison with a pitch, then came close to hitting the next batter, outfielder Austin Meadows.

While it wasn’t evident that Shipley threw at the Pirates on purpose, Pittsburgh starter Joe Musgrove took it upon himself to retaliate in the bottom of the seventh, hitting Chris Owings.

Following the game, Musgrove referred to beaning Owings as “protecting your teammates,” adding that it is how the game is played.

“If you are willing to go out and hit somebody you have to be willing to deal with what might come with that,” Musgrove said.

The comment didn’t sit well with Lovullo, who admitted that as a former player, he didn’t believe in that type of retaliation.

“I felt like I could have been one of the victims for being myself,” Lovullo said. “There are times when things that don’t go the way they are supposed to happen and they have a way of taking care of themselves internally inside the game. If a pitch gets away from a player unintentionally then we are not going to reload and fire one at them.

“As I said last night, the purest form of getting somebody back is to score some runs, tack some on and win a game you were actually flat-lined in and expected to pass on for another day.”

Following Musgrove’s retaliation against Owings, the D-backs’ offense found new life.

Both Nick Ahmed and Daniel Descalso hit RBI singles, which was followed by a Jake Lamb three-run homer to even the score at five.

The next inning, Ketel Marte scored off a wild pitch by Pirates reliever Kyle Crick to give Arizona the lead. Descalso tripled later in the inning, driving in two more runs to extend the lead.

More drama ensued in the ninth inning, however, when a fastball from D-backs closer Brad Boxberger hit Pirates infielder Sean Rodriguez.

Lovullo acknowledged that he had asked Boxberger about the pitch, but insisted that it had just gotten away from him after a few days off.

“If you do that on your own, I am going to be extremely unhappy,” Lovullo said. “It looked suspicious, it certainly raised an eyebrow but if you are asking me man-to-man did I give the orders to have that player hit, it did not happen.

“How to explain it? I told you he hadn’t pitched in awhile, his last outing wasn’t pristine, he tried to stand on a fastball, it got away from him and hit him. I would not be pleased, I have asked and found out the answer that he did not do that intentionally.”

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