Ubaldo Jimenez was suspended for five games for intentionally throwing at Rockies’ shortstop Troy Tulowitzki during Sunday’s Spring Training game. While it’s impossible to truly discern another person’s intentions, when you watch the video, it’s pretty darn clear that Jimenez was throwing at Tulowitzki. Probably the most damning thing is that Jimenez is practically off the mound before Tulowitzki even realizes he’s been beaned, and the way he charges the batter’s box is not exactly apologetic.
Jimenez appealed the suspension today, and manager Manny Acta says he will make his scheduled start on Saturday’s game against Toronto. There has been bad blood between Jimenez and Tulowitzki lately, with Jimenez publicly criticizing the contract he had as a Colorado Rockie vs. the contract Tulowitzki and former teammate Carlos Gonzalez received, and Tulowitzki apparently said some things about Jimenez that a polite lady wouldn’t repeat.
Theoretically the two never have to see each other again this season. The Indians and Rockies don’t have any inter-league games, and the chances of the Indians and Rockies meeting in the World Series are about as good as Snooki’s chances of becoming a member of MENSA. This is good, because Jimenez has to get past feeling treated unfairly by the Rockies organization if he’s ever going to be the pitcher the Indians need him to be.
He was wild and ineffective during the game, giving up 6 earned runs during 4.1 innings pitched, with 5 walks and only 2 strikeouts. Frankly, that stinks. The interesting thing is, the Indians started to hit. Hafner hit a grand slam in the first, and then after a few scoreless innings during which the Rockies scored 10 runs, the Indians started to scrape away at Colorado’s lead. The Tribe ended up winning 12-10. The final score included a second Cleveland grand slam, this one by Shelley Duncan.
You never like seeing somebody get hit, especially on purpose. It’s poor sportsmanship. And in a late Spring Training game, pretty much unacceptable. But there is a tiny tiny part of me that is glad Jimenez did it. Sometimes a team needs something big–a manager getting thrown out, an unassisted triple play–to light a spark under its collective butt. The Indians have been less-than-inspiring this spring. The final roster cuts have been made, and all those teammates poured out of the dugout to back up their guy when Jimenez and Tulowitzki went nose-to-nose. Even though he was in the wrong, they had his back. And they won the game. Who knows if there’s a connection? As Manny Acta said, sometimes it’s about “Manhood, man! Nobody wants to back down.”