Bad blood rarely boils over during spring training games, but it happens. If not for Ubaldo Jimenez, we may have made it through an entire spring training without a bench-clearing incident. Jimenez, who now pitches for the Indians, drilled former teammate Troy Tulowitzki in the elbow on Sunday. The Indians insist the ball got away from him, but Jimenez reportedly threw his glove to the ground and started walking toward Tulowitzki once he drilled him. Couple that with the fact that there is a history between the two and that would make for quite the coincidence.
To say Rockies manager Jim Tracy is upset over the incident would be a massive understatement.
“It’s the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball,” Tracy said angrily according to the Denver Post. “I have lost all respect for him. To do something like that and walk down off the mound, and if there’s any suggestion whatsoever that the ball got away, I don’t want to hear any of that (expletive). He intentionally threw at him. He should be suspended. I am going to be very disappointed if he doesn’t get suspended. He deserves to be.
“Are you kidding me? Five days before opening day and you are going to take a potshot like that? It was the worst I have seen. I have lost respect for him and that’s a very difficult thing for me to say.”
After Jimenez was traded to the Indians last season, word spread that he did not do enough to prepare for the 2011 season. Coming off his dominant 2010 campaign, it appeared as though the Rockies had an ace for years to come. An article in the Denver Post highlighted a lengthy European vacation Jimenez took prior to the season, which may have resulted in a lack of preparation that led to various nagging injuries. Tulowitzki said he believed that may have been the case and that Jimenez should have asked his teammates for help.
It’s no secret that Tulowitzki’s remarks did not sit well with Jimenez, but based on Tracy’s comments it sounds like Troy spoke the truth.
“Knowing what I know, knowing what took place last year, and where this team was at going into the second month of the season and doing what we did (in April) and he was nowhere to be found,” Tracy said. “I have lost all respect for him.”
If Jimenez did intend to hit Tulowitzki — and it certainly sounds like he did — the league should consider suspending him. Intentionally hitting someone with a pitch is bad enough, let alone in a meaningless game before the season has even begun.
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