David Ortiz

David Ortiz rips MLB for punishing Brandon Workman but not David Price

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CLEVELAND — For the most part, the Red Sox took the high road in regard to the news that pitcher Brandon Workman was suspended for six games for his actions in last Friday’s showdown with Tampa Bay — and the corresponding lack of discipline taken toward the Rays’ David Price.

Manager John Farrell maintained a diplomatic tact, saying the Red Sox had presented their side of the confrontation and have to deal with the fallout. Workman, who is appealing the suspension and will pitch as scheduled Wednesday, continued to maintain that he wasn’t throwing at Evan Longoria.

But David Ortiz showed no such restraint.

“[The Rays] started everything and we’ve got to pay for it, basically,” fumed Ortiz, hit in the back in the first inning by Price, who went unpunished. “That’s the message I’m getting. I don’t have any answer for it. But like I say, man, there’s way too much evidence now that he hit me on purpose and the funny thing is we’re the ones getting fines and suspensions, all that kind of stuff.

“I guess the rules are not for everyone.”

And while Workman continued to insist that the ball slipped when he threw up and behind Longoria several innings later, Ortiz was more direct about his teammate’s motivation.

“He was supposed to back up his teammate — that’s what he did,” said Ortiz. “I don’t want to see nobody getting hit or hurt. But to be honest with you, nobody planned Workman going out there and trying to hit Longoria, which he missed. But at least he sent a message — you hit my players, I hit yours.”

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Ortiz still isn’t buying Price’s original assertion that he was trying to establish his fastball inside when he drilled Ortiz in the back in the first inning.

“Bro, the guy gave out 8 walks in 80 innings,” said Ortiz. “You know what you’re doing out there. In my case, when he hit me, I was a little confused. As the game went by, I started seeing things different. That’s why I was so angry after the game. I think MLB should [review] this and come up with the real deal because I don’t think what they’re doing is fair.

“I think the rules should for everybody. We didn’t start this up. I didn’t hurt nobody. Workman wasn’t hitting anybody in the first inning. They did.”

At first, Ortiz didn’t believe Price had intentionally hit him, since the Red Sox slugger recalled two conversations he had in the aftermath of Game 2 of the ALDS last October. Price was initially miffed that Ortiz stood and admired the second of his two homers and voiced his displeasure in a phone call.

But Price later called back and apologized and then repeated his apology publicly in Tampa following the day. Ortiz thought the issue was long resolved.

“That’s why I was [first] thinking, ‘Did he really do that on purpose?’ ” said Ortiz. “But like I say, I don’t care about we he did or does from this point on. What I care about is MLB looking at the case from the point where I didn’t start this up. Workman didn’t start this up. Price did.

“I thought the rule was for everybody. I thought the minute you figure that someone hit somebody on purpose, it says right there you’ve got to follow up [with discipline]. In this case, it seems like they didn’t.”

Ortiz also added this warning: “In my case, I’ve made my point clear. I’m not going to get hit again. Not by him. I’m not going to get hit again by him. He did it on purpose. He punked me and that was very disrespectful. I’m a grown-ass man and I’ve been around the league for a long time and I know how to take care of business of my own.”

Breaking Down the Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot: Lou Piniella

TORONTO - JULY 9:  Manager Lou Pinella of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during batting practice prior to the1991 All-Star Game at the Toronto Sky Dome on July 9, 1991 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
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On Monday, December 5, the Today’s Game committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame — the replacement for the Veterans Committee which covers the years 1988-2016 — will vote on candidates for the 2017 induction class. This week we are looking at the ten candidates, one-by-one, to assess their Hall worthiness. Next up: Lou Piniella

The case for his induction:

He notched 1,835 wins, made seven postseason appearances, a won a World Series as a manager. That win total is good for 14th all time. Of the 13 men ahead of him, 12 are already in the Hall. The only who isn’t is Gene Mauch, who was under .500 for his career. Connie Mack and Bucky Harris are in that crowd and they were under .500 too, but Mack is kind of a special case as the all-time wins leader and Harris, well, I dunno, he hung around forever and the Veterans Committee was a different beast back in the 1970s. Point is, if you have Piniella’s win total and you’re over .500, as Piniella is, you’re probably getting in, at least eventually.

A lot of those wins came in some good places and at some good times, adding some psychological weight to that record. Taking the 1990 Reds to the World Series and beating the heavily favored A’s was a great story and, as the Reds’ last title for 26 years and counting, stands as a more memorable accomplishment than doing it someplace else. Likewise, his next job, in Seattle, coincided with the franchise’s best seasons thanks to the emergence of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez under Piniella’s command. Mariners’ history fundamentally changed during the Piniella era and he will always be associated with that. Oh, and his 2001 team set the single season record for wins with 116. He made two playoff appearances with the Cubs too. That’s been eclipsed by the 2016 team’s exploits, but it was a pretty big deal at the time.

It’s also worth noting that Piniella likewise had a very fine playing career, with 18 seasons of 109 OPS+ hitting, a Rookie of the Year Award and a couple of World Series rings on his resume. That’s not enough by itself to get him in the Hall, but he presents a nice total package as a Baseball Man Supreme who has been thought highly of for close to 50 years now.

Oh, one other thing: he was colorful. He had a temper and a repuatation as kind of a red ass, with a good number of on-the-field incidents which stick in people’s minds. That sort of thing doesn’t necessarily make someone a good manager or a good person, but Piniella has been seen as a guy who mellowed with age and, at various times in his career, showed that he had a sense of humor about all of that stuff which makes it play a heck of a lot better. For Hall of Fame purposes, it certainly plays a heck of a lot more memorably.

The case against his induction:

His years in Tampa Bay weren’t all that great and, by the time his days in Chicago were over there was a sense that he was sort of running on fumes and padding that win total to get him into that top 14. In both places Joe Maddon eventually came along and did better things and, in some cases, undoing some bad things Piniella did. Some believe he should’ve won another pennant or two and, yes, some of those Mariners teams disappointed in the postseason. Some people look less amusingly on his temper tantrums over the years and, I suppose, one could characterize them a bit more sinisterly than I did above without being too dramatic.

Would I vote for him?

I think so. As I mentioned in the George Steinbrenner entry, when it comes to managers and executives, I put a lot of weight on whether one could tell the story of baseball in a guy’s era without mentioning his name. Piniella is no Joe Torre, Bobby Cox of Tony La Russa in that regard, but he’s pretty close to that group in terms of the figure he cut in the game and, as I mentioned, he’s critical to the story of a couple of franchises. Certainly the Mariners but also the 1970s Yankees as a player and, possibly, the 1990 Reds. I tend to be a softer Hall of Fame touch than a lot of people, so I get that people may disagree, but I’d put him in.

Will the Committee vote for him?

Hard to say. On the one hand, Piniella feels like the sort of baseball man that gets rewarded by the Veterans Committee. On the other hand, the Veterans Committee took ages to vote in some other notable managers such as Whitey Herzog, suggesting that maybe Piniella will have to wait. This is the first year for the new composition of the Veterans Committe, however, so it’s hard to say if they’ll be tougher or easier graders. He may be the hardest call of all of the guys on this year’s ballot.

Twins hire James Rowson as their hitting coach

BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
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The Minnesota Twins have announced that they have hired James Rowson as their hitting coach.

Rowson was the minor league hitting coordinator for the New York Yankees for seven of the last nine seasons, interrupted by a short stint with the Chicago Cubs as minor league hitting coordinator. He also worked at the minor league levels with the Los Angeles Angels. He played in the minors for the Seattle Mariners and Yankees.

Rowson replacesTom Brunansky, who was hitting coach for the past four seasons.