On Thursday night, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke sustained a broken collarbone at the hands of San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin. Greinke hit Quentin with a pitch in the top of the sixth inning and Quentin charged the mound. Greinke will require surgery and miss eight weeks of action as a result.
The only silver lining in this is that it wasn’t his pitching arm.
MLB has responded by giving Quentin an eight game suspension which Quentin has appealed.
This is wholly inadequate. As Dodgers manager Don Mattingly put it, “He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. It he plays before Greinke pitches, something’s wrong.”
For his part, when Quentin was asked if he had any remorse in injuring Greinke all he could say is that, “It could have been avoided.”
Yes, it could have been avoided if Quentin took his base.
Quentin also tried to justify his actions by stating that Greinke has hit him twice previously. Well, a lot of pitchers have plunked Quentin because he crowds the plate. He led the NL in being hit by pitch last season and led the AL in the same category in 2011 when he was a member of the Chicago White Sox.
Why on earth would Greinke purposely hit Quentin on a 3-2 pitch with a one run lead?
Now Vin Scully speculated that Greinke may have been retaliating for Padres pitcher Jason Marquis brushing back Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp in the first inning. It is true that Kemp was quite angry following the brawl and actually confronted Quentin after the game and the two had to be separated by the authorities. Still, given the game situation, I don’t think Greinke was trying to drill Quentin.
The fact is that Quentin’s actions have seriously injured another player and could adversely affect his career. Quentin’s lack of remorse for his behavior require bold action.
What’s interesting is that the Padres haven’t exactly stuck up for Quentin. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis says that several Padres told him they were appalled by Quentin’s actions. If MLB won’t suspend Quentin for more than eight games then I think the Padres should release him. Giving Quentin his walking papers would send a very powerful message to players who cross the line and behave with such recklessness.
But I doubt it will happen. Although Quentin only played in 86 games last season, he was second on the team in home runs with 16. Only Chase Headley had more homers with the Padres in 2012. With Headley already on the DL with a wrist injury, there’s no way the Padres are going to part ways with Quentin anytime soon.