Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers: Our pitchers need to retaliate, hit more batters

kevin-towersArizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers is not happy with his team’s 81-81 season. Most GMs are frustrated after missing the playoffs, but Towers seems a bit more irritated than others. He wants his team to be tougher. And what does he mean by that? They have to start hitting more batters and stop eating bananas in the dugout.

During an interview with Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo on Tuesday, Towers vented about how he wishes his team would show more grit.

“You’d think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently,” he said, via ArizonaSports.com’s Adam Green. “Probably a week later (first baseman Paul Goldschmidt) gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.’

“Not that I don’t take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy’s getting hit, it’s an eye for an eye, somebody’s going down or somebody’s going to get jackknifed.”

Towers did note that he is not saying his pitchers should be looking to injure opponents, though I’m not sure you can plunk someone and be confident you’re not going to hurt them. He says knowing when to retaliate should be an inherent part of the game that players adhere to. He even went so far as to say the organization will be looking to deal players who don’t show toughness.

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Kevin Towers, Derrick Hall to Shave Heads if D-Backs’ Winning Streak Reaches 10

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been hot lately winning nine straight games. They’re now six games ahead of the Giants in the NL West and their magic number is 20 to clinch the division. They have a big three-game set with the Giants beginning Friday night and the stakes are greater than just a potential shift in the standings. As Hardball Talk points out to us, D-Backs front office men Kevin Towers (pictured) and Derrick Hall will shave their heads if the team’s winning streak reaches 10.

That agreement apparently was in place this week when the team had only won six in a row. Third baseman Ryan Roberts tweeted about the deal on Wednesday, writing “I can’t wait to get the 10th win in SF so I can shave some heads!!!! I can’t say who but everyone will see. Hahaha.”

Cat’s out of the bag, Ryan. We know who’s involved. And apparently Roberts has expressed his desire to shave the heads on home plate. Hey, if the D-Backs can win their weekend series with the Giants, I’m guessing their execs will only be too happy to go bald. They’re not the first people in baseball to lose hair during a streak, but usually guys change it up when their team is losing, not winning.

UPDATE: The D-Backs lost to the Giants Friday night, ending their streak at nine. Derrick Hall tweeted “Not happy! I would much rather have to shave my head tonight!”

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk and the Mercury News

Kevin Towers Toyed with Radar Gun to Mess with Brad Penny, Other Pitchers

Now we know why Brad Penny has been hampered by shoulder injuries for a good portion of his career. After hearing former San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers’ recent comments, it all makes perfect sense. Using a clever little trick, Towers may have contributed to Penny eventually throwing his arm out.

Hardball Talk shared a story with us from the Arizona Republic on Friday in which Towers lends some inside information about how he used to toy with Penny’s and other pitcher’s heads when they were on the mound at Petco Park.

“We used to dial it down,” Towers said in response to questions about whether or not ballpark radar readings are accurate. “I know for a fact that every time Brad Penny pitched for the Dodgers in San Diego it was probably the lowest velocities he ever had. He liked velocity. He’d stare at the board. He was throwing 95-96 (mph), but we’d have it at 91 and he’d get pissed off and throw harder and harder and start elevating.”

Although Major League Baseball sends a memo to teams every year reminding them they are not allowed to manipulate radar readings, Towers went on to explain that the Padres would also bump the reading up a few MPH for their own pitchers, feeling it gave them a psychological advantage.

The Towers mind games are probably over now that a lot of fields are using computer technology to post radar readings on the scoreboard.  However, Hardball Talk checked Penny’s career numbers in San Diego while he pitched for the Dodgers — 1-5 with a 6.47 ERA in 10 appearances.  Coincidence? I think not. Maybe it’s that sort of bravado that’s needed to land a hot fiance like Penny did.