D-backs’ Montero sets tone for series with Dodgers
PHOENIX — Next up: the resumption of the Diamondbacks-Dodgers rivalry.
The teams will meet in a three-game series that starts Monday at Chase Field, 27 days after an on-field brawl that led to a 10-game suspension for Arizona starter Ian Kennedy and these parting words from Los Angeles reliever Ronald Belisario: “It’s not over.”
Suffice it to say the Diamondbacks do not feel threatened.
“I don’t know what that means. It is not over in the season? Is it not over to hit people?” catcher Miguel Montero said Sunday.
“I really don’t care what he says. I don’t even care who he is. He’s nobody. I’m not even going to waste time talking about that guy. It is worthless for me. If he hits me, hit me. I’m going to run to first. I’m not going to start a fight. If he hits me, hopefully (Major League Baseball will) do something about it if he does. We’re looking forward to playing another series. We have to move on.”
Emotions heightened after a Kennedy pitch hit Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig’s nose in the sixth inning that night. Zack Greinke then hit Montero in the back in the top of the seventh, and Kennedy hit Greinke in the last of the inning, triggering the emptying of both benches and bullpens.
Kennedy is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against Ricky Nolasco, who will make his first start for the Dodgers after being acquired from the Marlins on Saturday. Greinke is scheduled to start Monday. Kennedy did not want to talk about the series this week, but manager Kirk Gibson spoke about it in his Sunday pregame briefing.
“We know they’re a different team,” Gibson said. “There’s less margin of error … more formidable. We’ve got to deal with it.
“That whole thing, it’s been some time. We’ve played a game and a half (against the Dodgers) since then. I’ll restate this. Anybody who thinks anybody will try to hit anybody in the head is (making) an illogical assumption. I don’t think there’s one person in the major leagues that would actually do that. People pitch inside. They’ll do it today. They’ll do it tomorrow. They’ll do it the day after that. It’s part of the game. They’re purposeful pitches.”
Eric Hinske was suspended five games for his part in the brawl, a ban later reduced to one game. Hinske is no longer with the D-backs, although he is in the organization after accepting an assignment to Class AAA Reno earlier this week.
Belisario was one of three Dodgers players suspended, none for more than two games. Belisario and Puig were seen on the video throwing punches as they ran toward the D-backs dugout. Hinske said he was hit in the back by Puig.
Arizona held a 4 1/2-game lead over Los Angeles in the NL West entering Monday’s games, and Montero said the series is all about putting more space between the two.
“I’m just going to come here ready to win. We want to beat them. We want to keep pushing hard and trying to get the National League West division,” Montero said of the series.
About the Dodgers’ addition of Nolasco and the remainder of his $11.5 million salary, he added:
“You expect whatever from the Dodgers. They have a lot of money to spend. But I don’t think money wins World Series. They got the money, we got the talent,” Montero said.
The Dodgers’ payroll is about $220 million this season with the addition of Nolasco. The D-backs’ payroll is about $86 million.
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