Ryan Braun: ‘Any good hitter has to be pitched up and in at times’

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We’ve written plenty in this blog today about Tony La Russa and the shenanigans in Tuesday night’s Cardinals-Brewers game, so while it’s been fun, I’m not going to rehash the whole thing again.

If you need a recap, go here, here and even here.

But I did want to point out that Ryan Braun, the innocent victim in all of this, handled the whole thing perfectly. If you’d like a lesson in maturity, Mr. La Russa, have a talk with Mr. Braun.

From Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“I get it; I certainly understand where he (La Russa) is coming from,” said Braun. “At the same time, i think any good hitter in this league has to be pitched up and in at times. I get it, Prince gets it. You have to throw Albert that way, (Matt) Holliday, Lance Berkman. You can’t allow guys to be comfortable.

“Occasionally, you have to make that pitch. Nobody wants to hit anybody. I don’t think that’s really the intent. Clearly, we weren’t trying to hit Albert on an 0-1 pitch, first and third with nobody out, and Holliday and Berkman coming up next. But I think any good hitter in this league has to be pitched that way on occasion. Again, the intent is never to hit anybody.

“In general, every good hitter, anybody that can consistently drive the ball and hit home runs, occasionally you have to throw them inside. That’s just the way the game works.”

There are plenty of good nuggets in the story, so click and read. Braun said the incident was over for him and he didn’t expect any lingering problems. He also said that he was surprised the Cardinals decided to hit him with the score tied late in the game, joking that “maybe it was an accident.”

And on a final note, Braun said that while walking to first base he told Yadier Molina that the Brewers didn’t hit Pujols on purpose, and that Molina agreed. La Russa has also stated that he didn’t think the Brewers hit Pujols on purpose, but that he needed to send a message by going inside on Braun.

But this begs the question: If the Pujols plunking was an accident, what message is La Russa trying to send? That he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his players from accidents? It’s all very silly, really, and Braun deserves praise for laughing at the whole thing.

On a side note, I tackled the issue of baseball’s unwritten rules last year, and Braun happens to be featured prominently in the piece. Check it out here.

You can follow Bob on Twitter here, or if Facebook is your thing, be his friend here.

Manny Machado reportedly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers

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This has been the worst kept secret all day, but Ken Rosenthal has now reported that, yes, Manny Machado has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The full return is not yet known, but Rosenthal says that outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz — who starred in the Futures Game on Sunday — is part of the package heading back to Baltimore. Rosenthal says that other players, and the amount of money, if any, going from Baltimore to Los Angeles, is not yet known. It would make some sense, however, for the Orioles to do that. First, to secure a better package of prospects in return and second to help the Dodgers stay under the luxury tax threshold.

That this was a done deal well before first pitch tonight is clear. As I noted earlier today, the reporters talking about the deal used far more certain terms than they usually do, keeping themselves just short of announcing that it was official. Before the All-Star Game Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was seen taking a selfie with Machado. During the game, as Kemp was mic’d up while playing the outfield, Fox broadcaster Joe Buck asked him about the possible trade and Kemp, not at all convincingly said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” and offered a chuckle.

Francisco Lindor pinch-hit for Machado in the top of the sixth inning and, at that moment, Rosenthal asked Machado about leaving Baltimore. Machado spoke of the Orioles in the past tense. Just as they went on the air, Rosenthal tweeted out news of the deal being official. It’s obvious that Major League Baseball or the teams involved asked him to embargo news of the trade until Machado was out of the game.

The mechanics of the deal will not be remembered. The significant thing is that the Dodgers just acquired the best available player at the deadline. Machado is hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBI so far this year. While his shortstop defense has been suspect, his bat will play quite well at a position where the Dodgers are currently in trouble due to the season-ending injury to Corey Seager. Machado will slot right into shortstop for the current NL West leaders, and will add serious pop to what has already been a potent lineup all year long. Machado will be a free agent at the end of the season, but he’ll be an excellent rental for the Dodgers for the final two and a half months of the season and into the playoffs, should the Dodgers make it to October.

Diaz homered twice in the Futures Game on Sunday. He’s only 21, but he’s already raking in Double-A ball, hitting .314/.428/.477 with six homers in 59 games at Tulsa. He’s a top-100 prospect in all of baseball and figures to be a star in the majors at some point in the next year or two.

We’ll update when more is known about the package returning to Baltimore, but for now all that matters is that Manny Machado is L.A.-bound.