Bobby V comes to Padilla's defense

July, 7, 2012
BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine claimed no knowledge of the bad blood between Mark Teixeira of the Yankees and Vicente Padilla, the Red Sox reliever that Teixeira eviscerated after hitting a game-turning two-run triple in the Yankees’ 10-8 win over the Sox on Friday night.

“I didn’t know there was a history there,’’ Valentine said Saturday morning. “From when they played together? That he should throw at more people? He hasn’t been doing that this year. He’s got to get back to doing that this year, I think.’’

Padilla drilled Teixeira with a pitch in 2005, after Teixeira had homered off him in consecutive at-bats. The following season, they became teammates in Texas, and Padilla led the American League in hit batsmen, leading to complaints from Teixeira that he was being targeted in retaliation. Padilla has hit 15 or more batters in four consecutive seasons, and eventually was run out of Texas, with other teammates’ complaints also ringing in his ears.

Teixeira maintains that Padilla has been throwing at him ever since, hitting him twice in 2009. He had just four plate appearances against Padilla since until Friday night, when Teixeira came to the plate with two on and two out in the seventh. Just before Padilla was about to throw a full-count pitch, Teixeira stepped out and called for time, a noted irritant for many pitchers. But with first base occupied, Teixeira admitted he knew Padilla wouldn’t be throwing at him, and launched the next pitch into the center-field triangle.

“The guy throws at people, fact of the matter," Teixeira said. "I'm not saying anything that is news. It is what it is. I've always been someone who wants to play the game the right way. You play hard, but you don't play cheap. I've always lived that way, too. Some guys decide to take matters into their own hands. In the NFL, he would probably be suspended by Roger Goodell eight games or a whole season. This is baseball."

Padilla has hit just one batter this season, and anecdotally hasn’t been causing many hitters to spin away at the plate.

“I don’t know what [Teixeira’s] perspective is so I won’t do point-counterpoint,’’ Valentine said. “I’ll just tell you what I’ve seen. He’s been a terrific teammate. He’s been a guy that’s taken the ball every day we’ve wanted him to. Other than yesterday and one other time, he’s been outstanding in leaving runners right where they were when he came into the game.’’

Padilla had allowed just one inherited runner to score until Friday night.

Valentine may have have had his tongue firmly in cheek when asked why Padilla is hitting fewer hitters now.

“We just worked a little more on his control,’’ the manager said. “Now that he has better command, he’s hitting less people.’’

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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