D-backs’ Gibson: Protecting teammates ‘something we need to do better’

Sep 24, 2013, 11:29 PM | Updated: 11:29 pm

Monday’s game against the San Diego Padres is just the latest example of the Arizona Diamondbacks being on the receiving end of a pitch with a message.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson would like to see his team start delivering such pitches when appropriate.

“We’ve had some discussions about what’s appropriate and what’s not,” Gibson told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo Tuesday. “We talk about protecting your teammates … doing the right thing.”

After Heath Bell hit the Padres’ Ronny Cedeno in the head Monday at Petco Park, San Diego’s Luke Gregerson missed well off the plate inside to Aaron Hill. That was the end of it, but maybe it shouldn’t have been.

It’s generally understood that a player getting hit in the head is a mistake and doesn’t require retaliation. But the Diamondbacks didn’t respond to Gregerson’s brushback of Hill.

Gibson said pitcher Ian Kennedy had been a guy that often responded to those situations, but the team has found itself in two such scenarios — both in the past several days — since Kennedy was traded in July. The Dodgers hit five D-backs batters, including slugger Paul Goldschmit, during last week’s four-game series at Chase Field.

“I promise you that when the Dodgers hit five guys, hit Goldy, they were shocked they didn’t get hit back,” Gibson said. “It’s a reflection of something we need to do better. I guess we have to go through education a little bit. Give examples. Make sure we understand how to handle those situations.”

Gibson said that the D-backs typically have such discussions and run through different scenarios during spring training, and he’s even gone as far as putting together videos of Justin Uption being hit 19 times in 2011 and Gerardo Parra homering off of ex-Dodger Hong-Chih Kuo after several pitches near his head, then admiring his blast in Los Angeles.

But Gibson added that retaliation needs to come from the players, not the coaching staff.

“I’ve never walked directly down to soameone and said, ‘hey, you drill this guy,'” Gibson said. “We haven’t responded appropriately. Safe to say we need to do a better job of that.”

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