Clayton Kershaw, Kirk Gibson, Clint Fagan

The D-Backs weren’t kidding about the retaliation thing

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Back in October, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers made headlines extolling the virtues of protecting your teammates. Towers was particularly upset that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was hit by a pitch and the pitching staff did nothing — no revenge. From MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert:

Tuesday on his weekly show broadcast on KTAR 620AM, Towers was asked about his comments earlier in the day about wanting the D-backs’ pitchers to own the inner half of the plate.

“But I think come Spring Training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye and we’re going to protect one another,” Towers said of what his message would be to the pitchers next spring. “If not, if you have options, there’s ways to get you out of here, and you don’t follow suit or you don’t feel comfortable doing it, you probably don’t belong in a Diamondbacks uniform.”

On Wednesday, D-Backs first baseman Mark Trumbo was hit in the back by Rockies pitcher Tommy Kahnle in the top of the fourth inning. In the bottom half of the fourth, D-Backs pitcher Wade Miley threw at Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, hitting him in the calf. As a result, Tulowitzki has been dealing with a deep calf bruise and pain in his fibula as well, and won’t play for another few days.

Manager Kirk Gibson denied that there was intent behind Miley’s errant pitch to Tulowitzki. Via Troy Renck of the Denver Post:

“It’s part of the game. It can happen in spring or during the regular season,” Gibson said. “I think one of the things we’ve focused on is using all quadrants of the plate. We’re not out there intentionally trying to hurt anybody. Nobody wants their guy to get hit and neither do we, but it’s part of the game.”

Renck correctly adds that, as a result of their previous comments on the issue, the D-Backs can’t be given the benefit of the doubt. While no one on the Rockies would come out and say point-blank that they think the D-Backs threw at Tulowitzki intentionally, the devil was in the details.

Hopefully, this is the last we hear of D-Backs pitchers throwing at opposing players. Otherwise, it might not be until someone gets hit in the head and suffers a concussion that their embarrassing behavior is punished.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.