On second thought, Towers clarifies ‘eye for an eye’

PHOENIX — Beanballs? Of course not.

Uncomfortable at-bats? You betcha.

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has emphasized a need for his pitchers to throw inside the last two times he has talked in a group setting. Nothing new there. But Towers admitted Wednesday that he could have phrased himself differently on his radio show Tuesday.

This is what Towers said in a radio interview Tuesday with KTAR, the Diamondbacks’ flagship station:

“… come spring training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye and we’re going to protect one another. If not, if you have options, there’s ways to get you out of here, and you don’t follow suit or you don’t feel comfortable doing it, you probably don’t belong in a Diamondbacks uniform.”

In clarifying those remarks on Wednesday, he said this is what he meant:

“I’m not saying hit players on purpose. I’m saying if our hitters are being made uncomfortable at the plate, we need to be the same way. We need to make the opposing hitters uncomfortable at the plate and pitch in with purpose and take that inner third away. I’m talking about pitching inside effectively with purpose. Sometimes they’re not always strikes, but you pitch in to a hitter to be able to get the slider down and away.

“If you’re pitching to the middle third or the outer third without pitching inside on a consistent basis, you’re not going to be successful. I just thought as a staff we spent too much on the middle third or outer third.”

The D-backs relieved pitching coach Charles Nagy and first base/base running coach Steve Sax of their duties Tuesday.

On his radio show, Towers also admitted to becoming upset when the Dodgers hit six home runs in a game Sept. 9 and were shown on the Dodger Stadium message board celebrating with bananas in their dugout.

“I was sitting behind home plate that game, and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,” Towers said. “Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs, I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.”

This is what Towers said Wednesday about those thoughts:

“They were jamming bananas down their throat and really just making a mockery of us. I just said if I had a carton full of balls next to me, I would have thrown it in their dugout. I was just tried of getting beat up.”

Towers also said on his radio show that he met with the staff later in the season about protecting the players, but after Paul Goldschmidt got hit about a week later there was “no retaliation. It’s like, ‘Wait a minute.'”
He added that if Goldschmidt gets hits this season, “somebody’s going to get jackknifed.”

He said Wednesday that he did not want the term “jackknifed” to be misconstrued.

“I think when some people hear ‘jackknife,’ they think I’m talking about stabbing someone or injuring someone,” Towers said. “Jackknifing is a baseball term for moving a guy’s feet. When you talk about jackknifing a hitter, you’re talking about moving somebody’s feet, not hitting somebody or hurting somebody.”