Zack Greinke, Carlos Quentin

Carlos Quentin charges mound, Zack Greinke suffers broken collarbone

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Carlos Quentin charged the mound after being drilled by Zack Greinke, leading to a benches-clearing incident in the sixth inning of Thursday’s Dodgers-Padres game.

Greinke, a right-hander, suffered a broken left collarbone in the fight that ensued and is likely DL bound.

Don Mattingly, steamed after what turned out to be a 3-2 win, said afterwards, “[Quentin] should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. If he plays before Greinke, something is wrong. Nothing happens if that guy goes to first base.”

Despite the fact that there was a full count at the time, Quentin obviously felt Greinke’s pitch was intentional after a Jason Marquis 0-2 pitch was thrown towards Matt Kemp’s head earlier in the contest. Kemp spent a great deal of time jawing with the Padres with both teams on the field and had to be restrained by Josh Beckett and manager Don Mattingly.

After the parties returned to the dugouts initially, the Dodgers’ Jerry Hairston Jr. sprinted back out towards the Padres dugout, stirring things back up.

Here’s the video:

Following the game, Quentin and Kemp got into an altercation in the players parking lot and had to be separated.

Kemp, Hairston, Greinke and Quentin were all ejected. Quentin will face a five- or six-game suspension if history is any indication.

Greinke is the bigger loss, though. He signed the richest contract of the offseason — a six-year, $147 million pact — to become the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw. A broken collarbone is often a 6-8 week injury for most players. That it’s to Greinke’s off arm may aid his timetable a bit, but it’s not something he’ll be able to pitch through right away.

Fortunately, the Dodgers do possess considerable pitching depth, even after trading Aaron Harang earlier this week. They could either activate Ted Lilly from the DL and put him in the rotation or they could promote Chris Capuano from the bullpen.

Previous bad blood between Greinke and Quentin could explain why Quentin charged the mound. Greinke hit Quentin in the back with a pitch on April 8, 2009, and Quentin took steps toward the mound that time before catcher Miguel Olivo restrained him. That happened in the fourth inning of a game between the Royals and White Sox. Three innings earlier, Greinke had a pitch slip that nearly hit Quentin in the head.

“He had a reason for [being upset],” Greinke told MLB.com afterwards. “Any time you throw it that high, it’s justified. You’ve got to be better than that and not pitch like that. You’re going to make mistakes, but the last thing you want to do is hit someone where it could seriously hurt them. As soon as I let go of it, I was scared for him.”

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: