Dodgers pitcher breaks collarbone in scuffle
Zack Greinke had his left arm in a sling and a dazed look on his face as he told his side of the story. Barely two hours before, the US$147 million Dodgers pitcher was injured in a wild fight with the San Diego Padres that didn't even end when the game did.
Greinke broke his left collarbone in a bench-clearing brawl during Los Angeles' 3-2 victory today, leaving the Dodgers so furious that Matt Kemp confronted Padres slugger Carlos Quentin nose-to-nose as the two were leaving Petco Park.
Juan Uribe's pinch-hit home run in the eighth put the Dodgers ahead, two innings after Greinke hit Quentin on the left shoulder with a pitch.
The slugger started walking toward the mound and Greinke appeared to say something. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Quentin then charged the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, who is 6-2 and 195 pounds. They dropped their shoulders and collided, and Quentin tackled the pitcher to the grass.
Quentin and Greinke ended up at the bottom of a huge scrum as players from both sides ran onto the field and jumped in.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was livid, saying it shouldn't have happened because Quentin was hit on a 3-2 pitch in a one-run game.
"That's just stupid is what it is," Mattingly said. "He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. If he plays before Greinke pitches, something's wrong. He caused the whole thing. Nothing happens if he goes to first base."
Greinke twice hit Quentin with pitches when they were in the American League.
Quentin said his history with Greinke has been "well-documented. That situation could have been avoided. You'd have to ask Zack about that."
"I've been hit by many pitches," said Quentin, plunked more often than any other major league hitter since the start of 2008. "Some have been intentional, some have not been. For the amount I have been hit and my hitting style, I'm going to repeat: I have never reacted that way."
Kemp, one of four players ejected following the fight, found Quentin in the hallway near the players' exit as they were leaving the ballpark after the game. The 6-foot-4, 214-pound Kemp briefly went nose-to-nose with Quentin before Padres pitcher Clayton Richard, who is 6-5 and 245 pounds, stepped between them. Police and security moved in to break it up.
Both teams said the melee could have been avoided. They play another three-game series at Dodger Stadium beginning Monday night.
"I never hit him on purpose," said Greinke, who still appeared shaken after the game. "I never thought about hitting him on purpose. He always seems to think that I'm hitting him on purpose, but that's not the case. That's all I can really say about it."
Asked if there was bad blood between the teams, Greinke said: "Now there probably is. I don't know if there was beforehand."
He said the injury was "awful. It's silly that something could happen like that. I'm disappointed."
When the players were finally pulled apart, Quentin was led off the field by teammate Mark Kotsay. Greinke was checked by Mattingly and a trainer before walking off toward the dugout, his uniform top disheveled after it had been pulled over his head by Quentin.
Greinke lowered his left (non-throwing) shoulder into Quentin and took the brunt of the blow as they collided. The right-hander, who had his wife and in-laws in the stands, joined the Dodgers as a free agent in the offseason, signing a $147 million, six-year contract.
He missed time during spring training with a tender right elbow and the flu. Quentin was slowed by a balky right knee after having offseason surgery.
After the teams started going back to the dugouts and bullpens, Jerry Hairston Jr. came running across the field yelling and pointing at someone in the San Diego dugout and had to be restrained.
Kemp was angry after finding out the severity of Greinke's injury.
"I'm asking Greinke if he's OK and he said his shoulder's messed up. That kind of took me over the edge right there," Kemp said.
"I think Carlos Quentin went to Stanford, something like that?" Kemp said. "I heard there's smart people at Stanford. That wasn't too smart. Greinke didn't do anything wrong. That stuff happens in the minor leagues. It doesn't happen in the big leagues."
The benches and bullpens emptied again, leading to pushing and shoving. It did not appear any punches were thrown, but suspensions and fines are sure to follow.
Quentin, Kemp, Hairston and Greinke were ejected. Los Angeles reliever Chris Capuano was given all the time he needed to warm up when play finally resumed after a delay of about 15 minutes.
Following the game, the Dodgers announced that Greinke has a broken collarbone. It's uncertain how long he will be sidelined.
Quentin was hit by a pitch above the right wrist by Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario on Tuesday and had to leave the game. He sat out Wednesday night's game.
Greinke plunked Quentin once in 2008 and once in 2009, according to STATS. Coming into the game, Quentin was 6 for 24 with three homers against Greinke.
Quentin has been hit by pitches 116 times in his career, including an AL-high 23 times in 2011 with the Chicago White Sox. Greinke has hit 46 batters since his big league debut in 2004.
After play resumed, Alexi Amarista pinch-ran for Quentin, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Yonder Alonso's single to tie the game at 2.
Uribe homered to left on a 3-2 pitch from Luke Gregerson (1-1) with one out in the eighth to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.
Matt Guerrier (1-0) retired the only batter he faced, getting Jesus Guzman to fly out to end the seventh with runners on first and second. Kenley Jensen pitched the ninth for his first save.
Former San Diego star Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer deep into the seats down the right-field line with two outs in the first off Marquis, his first. Carl Crawford was aboard on a leadoff single.
Marquis allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings, struck out five and walked four.