Zach Britton on Dustin Pedroia: 'If he can't control his own teammates, then there's a bigger issue over there' - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Zach Britton on Dustin Pedroia: ‘If he can’t control his own teammates, then there’s a bigger issue over there’

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Orioles injured closer Zach Britton knows what Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said publicly about reliever Matt Barnes seemingly throwing at the head of the Orioles’ Manny Machado on Sunday afternoon.

Pedroia said he had nothing to do with Barnes’ decision, even though it looked as if Barnes was retaliating against Machado for a hard slide Friday that injured Pedroia’s calf and has kept him out of action.

But Britton isn’t buying Pedroia’s statements to the media or to Machado while they were on the field in the eighth. Because he thinks Pedroia, as Boston’s unquestioned team leader, could have stopped the potential fracas with a word to manager John Farrell or to the entire pitching staff. And, obviously, Pedroia didn’t, Britton said.

“Dustin, him telling Manny, ‘Hey, that didn’t come from me’ may be even more frustrating,” Britton told BaltimoreBaseball.com. “Because he’s the leader of that clubhouse and if he can’t control his own teammates, then there’s a bigger issue over there.”

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Directly after Sunday’s game, Pedroia denounced Barnes’ pitch, saying, “I had nothing to do with that. That’s not how you do that, man. I’m sorry to him and his team. If you’re going to protect guys, you do it right away. He knows that and both teams know that. Definitely a mishandled situation.”

Britton was told what Pedroia said to the media, and responded: “Good. Glad he did. But what if Manny’s on the ground with blood coming out of his ears? What is Dustin going to say then? It’s better to be proactive than reactive.”

Britton said if it were a flipped situation, and he was planning to hit a batter in retaliation for what someone did to one of his teammates, and he was told not to by a veteran Oriole, he’d listen.

“As a player that doesn’t have the most service time in this room, when a guy like Adam Jones tells me to do something or not to do something, I’m going to do (what he says). Same with Chris Davis or Darren O’Day, the guy in my bullpen,” Britton said. “If they tell me, ‘Don’t do this or that,’ I’m going to listen to them because they’ve been around the game and they’ve seen things I haven’t seen. And you respect their leadership.”

By not saying anything, Britton contends, Pedroia gave tacit approval for Barnes to retaliate – although Britton doesn’t suggest that Pedroia would have instructed Barnes to throw at anyone’s head. Regardless, it was all handled poorly, especially by Barnes, Britton said.

“It looked ugly, that’s for sure. If you want to send a message to somebody, you don’t do it by throwing at their head. I think you should have the ability to control the ball enough if you want to hit somebody. You do it in their body,” Britton said. “You’re not in the business of hurting people. If you want to send a message because you didn’t feel like Manny slid into second base the right way, then you handle it professionally. You do it. You get it over with and everyone turns the page. So, now you turn it into a situation where people feel like you’re out there trying to hurt somebody. And we know Manny’s intent wasn’t that with Dustin. I think (Dustin) knows that as well.”

So, does Britton think this issue with the Red Sox, whom the Orioles face 14 more times in 2017, including a four-game series at Fenway Park starting May 1, is over?

“That’s up to them. We’ll see what they do in Boston,” Britton said.

But isn’t it now up to the Orioles to strike back, if, indeed, the bad blood is going to continue?

“Not necessarily,” Britton said. “I think we’ve talked about it already, as a team, and we’ll see how (the Red Sox) choose to act — whether or not they choose to act professionally or unprofessionally when we get to Boston.”

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Mau

    April 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Walk softly and carry a big bat, but if they keep throwing at Manny’s knees and head, unleash the hounds.

    • bigdaddydk

      April 24, 2017 at 5:54 am

      Boston doesn’t want to get into a beanball war with the O’s. Baltimore has more bullpen depth to overcome suspensions, and half of the starting rotation can be replaced by the Norfolk Shuttle for a start or two without a problem. Hopefully this doesn’t escalate to that point. I hope it’s over. According to what the O’s have said in the media, this is in Boston’s hands. I’d just like to see the bats hot during the next series.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2017 at 10:57 am

      I don’t think anyone wants a beanball war. Ultimately, these are husbands and sons and dads. Risk to careers — not to mention lives — is a concern.

      • bigdaddydk

        April 24, 2017 at 11:17 am

        Agree completely. My comment was intended as tongue in cheek. Hope it came across that way. I’d like this garbage to end. One injury is too many, but accidents happen. Intentionally throwing at a player is not a way to settle it. I read an article a while back about how if one threw an object that fast at someone else’s head out in public, it would be a felony. Yet, somehow baseball players get away with it, even when they confess to it after the fact. It’s happened in hockey where players who exceed the accepted level of violence considered part of the game have been charged with assault. I think most of us agree that intentionally throwing at a player’s head is not an accepted level of violence in baseball. MLB needs to tighten up on these things.

        One thing I read suggested making any HBP above the waist an automatic ejection for the pitcher, followed by a review by MLB to determine if it was with intent to apply a suspension if warranted. I might suggest that with a fastball I’d agree but a breaking pitch that gets away maybe not. Sometimes accidents happen. Still, if you remove the umpire’s judgment entirely in those cases, managers won’t be arguing about intent because it won’t change things for the game. The possible consequence of this would be pitchers being unwilling to come inside for fear of getting tossed, which would be good for offense and would emphasize control over sheer velocity. It would make for an interesting conversation anyway. The fact that there hasn’t been another Ray Chapman in nearly a century is amazing.

        • giles nowaks mustache

          May 6, 2017 at 8:09 am

          • giles nowaks mustache

            May 6, 2017 at 8:11 am

            That was supposed to be a “thumbs up” reply to ya BDdk

  2. pedro

    April 24, 2017 at 9:04 am

    No doubt Red Sox nation loving ESPN and other northeastern media types will fan the flames. There is so much ” we are the Red Sox – we are special” to this. How dare we beat them? Just like Buck’s tongue-in-cheek comments on the flu that affected their team. You’d think it was TB. If this incident was between the Rockies and Diamondbacks, it’s forgotten already.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 24, 2017 at 10:59 am

      No question the Red Sox Nation fervor plays into the attention afforded this.

  3. pedro

    April 24, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Just listened to Buster Olney’s podcast. He thinks Pedroia’s comments, i.e apologizing for the beanball, could start to turn baseball away from this archaic, antiquated unwritten rule. It’s the 21st century, boys. Grow up.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      That would be great. But it won’t happen. Too ingrained. Only thing that stops it is serious penalties.

      • giles nowaks mustache

        May 6, 2017 at 8:51 am

        Completely agree Dan. Serious penalties.

        Including for managers who fan the flames inciting incidents of violence — as Ferrell has done.

        Zero tolerance.

        For situations like Ferrell’s feeling his player was wrongly injured, the manager submits a claim of injurious intent or wanton disregard to the commissioner and a speedy & thorough review by commissioner or designated panel is held to study & mete out any punishment.

        This would include intolerance of any actions AND any comments by ANYONE inciting violence (including indirect ones) which would be responded to immediately. Managers/players suspended immediately for periods of weeks. And media too — including being banned from all stadiums and contact with baseball players & staff. No tolerance for violence or inciting violence.

        Period.

        I’d like to see – starting this off season – the commissioner select a commission of sterling-quality members (Torre, Buck, etc) to study & come up with thorough guidelines of response to violence in the sport. This would include fan behaviors also.

        Include some savvy & unquestionably above-board players / ex-players (and if possible owner/s)too. Cal Ripken type individuals.

        I’d personally include an injured-in-war ex-military member. As well as ex-Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Bright, capable, and impeccably decent people to come up a comprehensive plan and guidelines to rid baseball of avoidable violence.

        As with the recent Adam Jones highlighted awareness of still occuring racial hatred situations, we can must address these issues. We can and must put our faces to addressing & ending avoidable violence in sports – as well as actions of racial hatred, now. This generation should be the last one that has to see the tolerance of either.

        • giles nowaks mustache

          May 6, 2017 at 9:20 am

          Were he still alive, Richard Feinman would be the perfect member of a task force to rid badeball of its problems with avoidable violence.

          Aside from the prerequisite qualities already mentioned, Feinman also had a tremendous amount of imagination & creativity – and thoroughness – which he brought to bear to a fulll range of life’s issues, not merely in physics.

          Anyone familiar with Feynman, including his work with the Columbia Shuttle disaster study commission understands why I add him.

          Perhaps Ken Burns would be a worthy commission member too. I’m just ‘spitballing’ now.

  4. Montay23

    April 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    While I understand Zach’s comments here, so much of this goes back to Farrell – Pedroia could have said something to the team, sure. But, when your manager is ranting and raving, dissecting the slide frame by frame, that sets the tone. And, let’s not forget the media’s responsibility with this – turning it into slidegate as opposed to a measured review of what occurred.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 25, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      All fair points.

    • giles nowaks mustache

      May 6, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Completely agree.

      Ferrell’s actions in this are disappointing, and disturbing.

  5. toca

    April 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Britton makes it seem like Barnes intentionally went for Machado’s head. I don’t think he wanted to be that high up, but just like the rest of their bullpen, they have big time control problems and is probably why he shouldn’t be even trying to hit him in the first place. A pitcher would really have to be a psycho to go for someone’s head knowing that if he connects, it’s not going to be a pretty sight.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      I think the point is if you can’t hit a guy’s ass, don’t throw a purpose pitch.

  6. Pjdroney

    April 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Come see us when you actually win something Britton you hack.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 25, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Bouncers must have missed this guy. We’re a classy fake joint. No name calling. Just rational discussion. Differing opinions welcomed. If they’re actually reasoned.

    • giles nowaks mustache

      May 6, 2017 at 9:39 am

      That comment bends to breaking the rules of rational discussion.

      To what end the animosity & name calling of Zack Britton?

      Except for being a blathering angry red socks fan who can’t stand having his heroes chastised, or someone who is generally cranky…
      Short of those explanations, – or maybe the recent loss of the life of a close family member – I can see no justification for your questionable and objectionable comment.

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