Claiming he was riled up after being called names from the batter’s box, the Cleveland Indians pitcher hit his former Colorado Rockies teammate Troy Tulowitzki on the elbow with a fastball and then charged the plate, causing the benches to clear in a spring training game Sunday.
Teammates from both teams quickly got between the pair before Tulowitzki exited for a pinch-runner.
Jimenez said he raced toward Tulowitzki as a reaction to his barbs, but insisted he did not intentionally hit the shortstop with the fast ball, The Denver Post reported.
"[Tulowitzki] is one of the best hitters in the game. I tried to get inside on him. It was a pitch that got away. That happens in about a thousand games," Jimenez said.
"The thing that got started was he was calling me out," he added. "I mean, I’m a man. If somebody calls me out, I have to go.
"He was calling me ‘chicken.’ He was calling me names."
Tulowitzki was forced to leave the game, but X-rays on the elbow later came back negative. He said later that he was just "sore."
Jimenez was not ejected but the Rockies were expected to contact the commissioner’s office and request a suspension.
"It’s the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball. I have lost all respect for [Jimenez]," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
"He intentionally threw at him. He should be suspended. I am going to be very disappointed if he doesn’t get suspended. He deserves to be."
During the spring, Jimenez expressed his anger towards the Rockies, saying he felt unappreciated because he was not awarded a contract extension like Tulowitzki (seven years, $134.5 million).
He has also said that being in Cleveland is like "heaven."