CINCINNATI — Bad blood between Cleveland Indians pitcher Derek Lowe and Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker was running between clubhouses after Wednesday night’s game and before Thursday afternoon’s game.
When Lowe came to bat in the fifth inning Wednesday night, Reds pitcher Mat Latos threw a high-and-tight fastball toward Lowe.
It didn’t hit him, but it was close.
After the game, Lowe launched into an expletive-filled tirade against Baker during which he made it clear that he holds the Reds manager in a negative light.
“This goes back to my last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2008),” said Lowe. “He made up some phony story. A lot of people got involved. People almost got fired over it. You can ask him right now and he’ll say he has no idea what you’re talking about. But just watch the game.
“Mat Latos has nothing to do with what has gone on. How would he know? Why in the world would you throw a 96 miles per hour fastball, first pitch, inside to a pitcher? Ask him,” Lowe added.
So Baker was asked. And as he talked, he gritted his teeth as if trying to hold back, but he couldn’t.
And he admitted that he did order Latos to throw Lowe high-and-tight, but not to hit him. Just send a message.
Baker said the message was to remind Lowe that Baker and the Reds remember April 25, 2009 when Lowe, pitching for the Atlanta Braves, hit Reds first baseman Joey Votto in the middle of the back in the first inning of a game in Great American Ball Park.
Baker didn’t address the 2008 issue brought up by Lowe, but said, “This is not something I want to make a public scene or a public spectacle out of. He’s the one who brought it up. He had some really choice words for me, but I don’t care if he respects me or not. I don’t care what he says. Doesn’t matter.”
Baker, though, brought up Joey Votto and the fact Lowe hit Brandon Phillips Wednesday night.
“Then he takes exception to a ball inside that didn’t hit him,” said Baker. “Then he hits Brandon Phillips. I’m not denying nothing. I didn’t tell (Latos) to hit him, but I did tell him to buzz him and make him uncomfortable. And that’s what happened.
“Nobody hit him, but then he hit our guy,” said Baker.
Of the 2008 issue/incident, Baker said, “What he was talking about was something he said and did a few years ago and you have to ask him what that was. And he got a lot of people involved in the situation that didn’t need to be involved in the situation.”
Lowe was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 and Baker was in his first year as manager of the Reds.
“Since he made it public, go ask him what he said and what he did,” Baker continued. “Since he is such a big man who likes to run his mouth about himself.”
Asked if it bothered him when a player says he doesn’t respect him, Baker said, “Man, I don’t care. A lot of people don’t respect me, but he doesn’t respect himself. The word was, that whatever he did and said, he was probably drinking at the ballpark at that time, three or four years ago. So he doesn’t remember what he said, or what he did.”
Lowe said Baker was shaking his finger at him Wednesday night to try to indicate that Baker had nothing to do with the high-and-tight pitch. Baker said, “I wasn’t shaking my finger to say I had nothing to do with it. That means, ‘Don’t mess with me or my team.’ That’s what that means. So he better learn sign language.”
Latos, who was merely the instrument to what happened, was ready for whatever transpired and said, “I never thought a veteran player like him would whine so much about something. Seriously.
“If I wanted to hit him, I would have hit him,” Latos added. “Flat-out. I would have hit him. It wouldn’t have been something that was close. It was 96 and inside, a two-seamer. I throw inside to pitchers and I’ve never heard a veteran pitcher whine so much. It is whatever he wants to think and we’ll let him play into his ego.”
After having his say Wednesday night, Lowe had no further words on Thursday and refused to respond to Baker or the media.