The Latest: Tejada on Utley’s slide; Yost talks high heat
NEW YORK (AP) The latest on the World Series, where the New York Mets will try to pull even with the Kansas City Royals in Game 4 on Saturday night (all times EDT):
Ruben Tejada thinks Chase Utley’s late slide that broke his right leg was dirty.
Speaking about the play for the first time since Utley ended Tejada’s season in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mets shortstop said he’s no longer upset over it.
Using a blue cane adorned with a Mets logo giving to him by the team’s owners, Tejada hung out with teammates in the dugout before Game 4 of the World Series.
He says he’s come to terms with what happened, even though he never responded to the message Utley sent him through captain David Wright. Tejada may never respond to Utley. But he’s not angry.
”I’m really happy we’re here and he’s home,” Tejada said.
Tejada said he needs to be in a walking boot for two more weeks, but vows he’ll be ready for spring training.
If the scouting report on David Wright was to go after him with hard stuff, Wright made the Royals pay for that approach in Game 3.
The New York Mets’ captain hit a two-run homer in the first inning on a 96 mph fastball from Yordano Ventura.
According to Major League Baseball’s PITCH f/x computer, that was the second home run on a pitch of 96 mph or greater that Wright hit since it began tracking data in 2007. The other was against Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel in 2013.
Wright added a two-run single on a 97 mph fastball from reliever Kelvin Herrera in the sixth.
Noah Syndergaard’s high-and-tight fastball to Alcides Escobar was still a hot topic before Game 4.
The rookie’s first pitch Friday night for the Mets was a 97 mph heater just off the inside corner and above the head of a ducking Escobar. The ball sailed all the way to the backstop, and the Kansas City shortstop went down to the dirt on his rear end.
Royals players shouted angrily at Syndergaard from the dugout. After the game, the young right-hander made it clear the pitch indeed had a purpose – to make Escobar and the rest of the Royals uncomfortable in the batter’s box.
Syndergaard had alluded Thursday to having ”a few tricks” up his sleeve for the aggressive Escobar leading off the game.
”I didn’t expect him to throw a strike, but I didn’t expect him to throw it under his chin, either,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”But we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves, too.”
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Syndergaard said he certainly wasn’t trying to hit Escobar.
”If they have a problem with me throwing inside, then they can meet me 60 feet, 6 inches away. I’ve got no problem with that,” he said.
Yost said throwing near an opponent’s head is too dangerous, even if the intent is not to hit him.
”You can end a player’s career by not intentionally hitting them in the head,” the manager said.
Yost views the chest as the dividing line these days for what’s acceptable when pitching inside.
”You’ve seen us at times with Daniel Murphy pitch in on him, but it’s never been up and in,” Yost said. ”It was an acceptable thing to be able to move guys away, up top. And we’ve kind of gotten away from that now.”
Mets manager Terry Collins thought Syndergaard’s purpose pitch set a tone.
”Hey, look, we’re in this World Series, too, and we’re going to get after it,” Collins said, adding it showed Syndergaard is ”not afraid of anybody.”
Collins called pitching inside ”a lost art” and acknowledged ”guys take a huge offense to it.”
”But I still think it’s got to be part of the game,” Collins said.