Author: Matthew Pouliot

Carlos Quentin, Zack Greinke

Don’t expect fireworks in Dodgers-Padres rematch Monday


Tempers have just a few days to cool off before the Dodgers and Padres play in Los Angeles on Monday. That Matt Kemp wants a piece of Carlos Quentin is undeniable, and it’s safe to say he’s not the only Dodger who feels that way — he’s just the biggest and strongest.

Still, those expecting anything more than a typical ballgame Monday are likely to be disappointed for a few reasons.

First, April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day in MLB. The Dodgers take that day even a little more seriously than the rest of the league does, and it’s safe to say that the commissioner’s office will let it be known the league is not to be embarrassed on that date. What a mess it would be if a brawl broke out between 50 guys wearing Jackie’s No. 42 on their backs.

Second, Don Mattingly would look like a pretty big hypocrite if, after all of his righteous anger last night, he let his players take matters into their own hands and go ahead Quentin. Mattingly called for Quentin to be suspended for however long Greinke is absent. That’s not going to happen, of course. But Mattingly would look really bad if one of his players went and knocked Quentin out for a considerable period of time.

Third, it’s just too obvious anyway. The Dodgers don’t seem to have any issues with any Padres except Quentin. There’s no reason for them to drill anyone else. And if they retaliate at Quentin now, they’ll just be hurting themselves with the suspensions sure to result. The Dodgers and Padres play six series this year. There will be plenty of time for them to take aim at Quentin later, if they so choose. Or maybe they could just be the bigger men and focus on beating the Padres on the scoreboard.

Two years later, John Wall gets the first pitch right… kind of

John Wall

As you may remember, Wizards point guard John Wall unleashed one of the worst first pitches in history at Nationals Park two years ago, spiking the ball barely in front of the mound. The Nationals invited him back anyway, giving him a chance to make amends on Thursday.

Wall, for what it’s worth, practiced some hard tosses on a basketball court, getting some tips along the way. Still, he wasn’t willing to risk embarrassment again. He opted to go with the lob prior to the game versus the White Sox.

Perhaps he would have felt more comfortable with Chris Young as his target behind the plate.

Michael Morse could miss a week with fractured pinkie

Michael Morse

The Mariners could be without one of the AL’s hottest hitters for a week after Michael Morse suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right pinkie finger during Thursday’s game against the Rangers.

Morse, who is batting .293 with six homers, was hit on the hand by a Tanner Scheppers pitch in the eighth inning, but it was ruled a swinging strike. He stayed in initially and, incredibly enough, was hit in the shoulder by Scheppers’ next pitch.

While Morse is hoping to play again as soon as Sunday, the Mariners will likely hold him out longer. It’s an injury he can play through without much risk of making it worse, but the pain will make it tough for him to grip a bat normally.

Morse’s injury comes just a day after the Mariners lost Michael Saunders to a sprained right shoulder. While Saunders was placed on the DL, Morse is expected to avoid the assignment. The Mariners will go with some combination of Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and Endy Chavez in the corners until Morse is ready to return.

Carlos Quentin charges mound, Zack Greinke suffers broken collarbone

Zack Greinke, Carlos Quentin

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 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.”