Dodgers livid after Greinke hurt in brawl

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Zack Greinke’s pitch sailed up and into Carlos Quentin’s upper left arm, and it was on.

A little personal history was at play, as were rules that aren’t in any rule book.

Now the Dodgers will be without their $147-million pitcher for eight weeks and Quentin is expected to be suspended by Major League Baseball, partly because of baseball culture and its fuzzy, unspoken guidelines on just when and how it’s OK to bean someone.

After Quentin got hit, the San Diego Padres’ slugger took a few steps onto the grass. When Greinke, Los Angeles’ prize offseason signing, appeared to say something, Quentin tossed his bat aside and rushed the mound.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Greinke dropped his glove and the two players lowered their shoulders. The 6-2, 240-pound Quentin — who starred as an outside linebacker in high school — slammed into the pitcher.

Quentin and Greinke ended up at the bottom of a huge scrum as players from both sides ran onto the field and jumped in.

Greinke took the brunt of the blow, breaking his left collarbone and inciting a fight that didn’t even end when the game was over. The Dodgers said Greinke will undergo surgery Saturday to have a rod inserted into the collarbone.

“It’s a man’s game on the field,” Quentin said. “Thoughts aren’t present when things like this happen.”

Quentin said later getting plunked by pitches by Greinke during the 2008 and 2009 seasons was justification enough to charge the mound when it happened again.

If Greinke hadn’t said anything, “There’s a chance I don’t” rush the mound, Quentin said. “Like I said, there is a history there, which is the reason I reacted like I did. Who knows what happens if he doesn’t say anything or if he motions that it wasn’t intentional?”

While pitching for Kansas City against the Chicago White Sox on July 18, 2008, Greinke hit Quentin with a pitch near the left wrist, loading the bases. Then on April 8, 2009, Greinke hit Quentin between the shoulders in the fourth inning after throwing one high and tight during Quentin’s previous at-bat. Quentin took about a step toward the mound then, before plate umpire Bill Hohn jumped in front of him.

At its core, Thursday’s brawl was about baseball’s quirky decorum.

The game naturally has a tension between pitchers and batters over balls thrown over the inside of the plate, and sometimes that flares into disagreement over who “owns” the inside half. Even if Greinke simply missed his location on the pitch that hit Quentin, the slugger apparently felt there was intent to hit him.

The Dodgers were vehement Greinke wouldn’t put a runner on base leading off an inning in a one-run game. Greinke’s body language momentarily appeared like he regretted that he hit Quentin. But the fact he threw his glove down and said something perhaps indicated that he felt he had the right to the inside of the plate.

Quentin’s rushing the mound was taking baseball protocol to the extreme, whereas in many other instances, the batter might gesture and yap while being escorted toward first base by the umpire and the catcher.

Quentin was hit by a pitch above the right wrist by Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario in Tuesday’s series opener and had to leave the game. He sat out Wednesday night.

The Dodgers weren’t buying Quentin’s explanation. So much so Matt Kemp, among four players ejected after the brawl, confronted Quentin as they left Petco Park following LA’s 3-2 win. Big Padres lefty Clayton Richard stepped between the two, and police and security moved in to break it up.

Several Dodgers said Quentin should have known by the situation Greinke’s pitch didn’t come with a purpose.

“I got emotional because first off, we shouldn’t even have been in that situation,” Kemp said in the clubhouse before his confrontation with Quentin. “People with good baseball IQs know that when you have a one-run lead in the sixth inning and it’s a 3-2 count, Greinke’s not going to hit you on purpose.

“I think Carlos Quentin went to Stanford? Something like that. Yeah. I heard there’s smart people at Stanford. That wasn’t too smart,” Kemp said.

Several Dodgers mentioned how Quentin crowds the plate. Manager Don Mattingly called Quentin “a guy that basically dives into the plate.”

Mattingly was livid and Kemp wasn’t far behind.

“People were saying in the pile, they’ve got history,” Kemp said. “Come on guys, history? I mean, Greinke’s trying to win games. He’s not trying to hit anybody on purpose. If you look at the video, if you look at where Quentin actually stands on the plate, he gives the pitcher no space to even come inside. Good pitchers have to come inside. Sometimes they miss their spots. Greinke missed his spot right there. That’s when he hit Carlos Quentin. No big deal. Take it like a man and walk down to first base. But he had to charge the mound. Now one of our best pitchers is hurt for no reason.”

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