The Los Angeles Dodgers’ $147 million investment in Zack Greinke suffered a severe blow Thursday night when the right-hander suffered a broken left collar bone in a brawl — a brawl rooted in an apparent grudge going back to a Kansas City Royals-Chicago White Sox rivalry.
San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin charged the mound after Greinke hit him with a 3-2 pitch as the leadoff batter in the sixth inning of a 2-1 game, igniting a benches-clearing melee. Greinke almost certainly wasn’t trying to hit Quentin on purpose, given the count and closeness of the game.
Apparently that didn’t matter to Quentin — who has a long memory.
The two used to see one another frequently in the American League Central. In fact, Quentin has faced Greinke more often than all but two pitchers — Justin Verlander and Nick Blackburn. Quentin entered the night with a .250 batting average in his career against Greinke (6-for-24).
Greinke also hit Quentin with two pitches.
That didn’t put Greinke in exclusive company. Before Thursday, 14 other pitchers had hit Quentin twice. Blackburn (four), Jon Lester (three) and Erik Bedard (three) had done so even more frequently.
But it seems Quentin has particular contempt for Greinke. After the benches cleared, Oney Guillen — son of Quentin’s former manager, Ozzie Guillen — tweeted: “greinke has hit carlos many many times. look it up. told me long long time ago. if he does it again im going for him. that was like 09”
Four years later, that is precisely what happened. Quentin, Greinke, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Matt Kemp were ejected as a result. And now the Dodgers’ concern will shift to Greinke, who absorbed a football-style shoulder blow from Quentin in front of the mound.
Greinke stood his ground and made sure the contact came on his left (non-pitching) side, but he still suffered a broken collar bone. It was not immediately known how long Greinke would be out. His arm was in a sling, and he was to be examined in Los Angeles on Friday.
Quentin is a frequent victim of hit-by-pitches, having led the majors in the category during each of the past two seasons. That’s partially explained by the fact that he stands very close to the plate.