SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Cleveland pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez nailed former teammate Troy Tulowitzki in the elbow Sunday, carrying their festering feud onto the field and causing the Indians and Colorado Rockies to clear the benches.
Tulowitzki and Jimenez jawed up close but were held back from getting at each other. The Rockies star was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays on his left elbow, which were negative.
Tulowitzki was hit by the first pitch when he came up in the first inning and left the game. The Indians initially said Jimenez would not be available for comment — later, he met the media during Cleveland’s 12-10 win and said the pitch was an accident.
“Of course I’m going to be sorry, he’s one of the superstar players in the game,” Jimenez said. “You don’t want to be in the position that you’re going to take the guy out of the game. He was my ex-teammate. I don’t want to hurt him at all. Just one pitch that got away that could happen to anybody.”
Jimenez recently told The Denver Post that he was upset he didn’t receive a contract extension while Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez got new deals. Jimenez was traded by Colorado to the Indians last summer.
Tulowitzki was quoted in the same story as basically saying Jimenez needs to get over his frustration and get on with his career.
“I never talked about anyone. The only thing I said was about how the team treated me. I didn’t mention anyone I never mentioned any names,” Jimenez said.
The episode quickly escalated when they met on the diamond.
Jimenez immediately sprang off the mound after Tulowitzki was hit. Tulowitzki took a step toward Jimenez and said something to him, prompting the pitcher to say “Come on!” and motion the All-Star shortstop to move forward.
Jimenez and Tulowitzki argued near the plate and the benches emptied, but there were no punches or ejections.
“It was the first inning and I didn’t have good control of my fastball. As you guys can see I walked the first guy on four pitches,” he said.
Jimenez said he’d never had a problem with Tulowitzki. The pitcher claimed the verbal confrontation grew after Tulowitzki called him a name.
“I take everything easy and I never look for any trouble, but if you call me out I’m going to be there. I’m a man like everybody else,” Jimenez said.
Indians manager Manny Acta said Jimenez “was pretty wild all day” with his pitches.
“I don’t know if there is any history there or not,” he said. “They were teammates for like, forever.”
“I was thinking it’s kind of late to be doing stuff like that. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt. You don’t want to see a player like that get hurt and your sure don’t want to get into a fight and get players hurt, either,” he said.
Acta added: “It was a natural reaction by players. Manhood, man! Nobody wants to back down.”
NOTES: Jimenez gave up six runs on four hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings. … Travis Hafner and Shelley Duncan hit grand slam as Cleveland ended a 10-game losing streak. Hafner connected in the first off Colorado opening day starter Jeremy Guthrie and Duncan homered in the seventh. … Tyler Colvin hit two long homer and singled twice to drive in six runs. … Indians All-Star SS Asdrubal Cabrera is near to signing a new contract that will add two years and be worth $16.5 million.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)