Jimenez sparks incident by plunking Tulowitzki

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — As the new guy in the Rockies clubhouse, Jeremy Guthrie, who has

spent his career in the American League, doesn’t know much about the

history of his new teammates.

He got a quick lesson on Sunday afternoon, and it wasn’t pretty.

Indians

right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, traded by the Rockies last July, drilled

Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki on the left elbow with a first-pitch fastball

in Sunday’s exhibition game at Salt River Fields, sparking a

benches-clearing confrontation in what Rockies manager Jim Tracy called

“the most gutless act I’ve seen in 35 years in pro ball. I have lost all

respect for (Jimenez).”

Earlier this spring Jimenez revealed that

he asked to be traded a year ago because he felt the Rockies

disrespected him by giving contract extensions to Tulowitzki and Carlos

Gonzalez but not to him — despite the Rockies having signed him to a

deal that, including team options, stretched to the 2014 season.

“But they gave them more money,” Jimenez said.

Tulowitzki

and Gonzalez, who missed Sunday’s game with an illness, spoke out about

their ex-teammate, with Tulowitzki saying, “While I’ve been here

everybody’s been treated fairly. There’s a certain point in the game

where you go play and shut your mouth.”

Indians manager Manny Acta

said he was unaware of any animosity between Jimenez and his former

team. He knows now. There certainly are no warm and fuzzy feelings left

between Jimenez and the Rockies.

“There are players (in the

Rockies clubhouse) who are upset,” said Guthrie, a former first-round

draft choice of Cleveland acquired by the Rockies from Baltimore during

the offseason. “They gave Ubaldo too much credit, that he would be more

professional.”

Jimenez feigned innocence, acting surprised that

anyone would think he would have tried to hit Tulowitzki, although his

actions spoke loudly — after hitting Tulowitzki he dropped his glove,

walked toward home plate and pounded his chest — and were observed by

Commissioner Bud Selig, who watched the game from the private box of

Dick and Charlie Monfort, owners of the Rockies.

“I did not have

good control of my fastball,” Jimenez said. “I walked the first guy

(Marco Scutaro) on four pitches. (Tulowitzki) is one of the best hitters

in the game. I have to try and go inside.”

Yeah, right.

“He called me a name worse than chicken,” Jimenez said. “You call me out, I will be there.”

Tulowitzki dropped his bat and yelled at Jimenez.

“As

soon as hit he me I saw he wanted a little more,” Tulowitzki said. “I

was definitely not happy about being hit intentionally.”

Tulowitzki,

however, showed more poise than his ex-teammate. He never hinted at

charging the mound, much to the pleasure of Tracy.

“He came off

the mound with intent,” Tracy said of Jimenez. “I was proud of Tulo. To

be hit like that, the natural reaction is to charge the mound. He had

the presence of mind to know the season starts on Friday.”

And the

Rockies not only want Tulowitzki in their lineup, they need him there.

He is their Gold Glove shortstop and cleanup hitter.

They have

their fingers crossed that Tulowitzki’s elbow is only bruised, and the

X-rays, which did not show any broken bones, are accurate. Tulowitzki

immediately took himself out of the game because “my elbow was blown up.

I couldn’t bend it. If it was the regular season, I would have been out

of the game.”

Jimenez acted concerned that Tulowitzki could be sidelined.

“I

don’t want to be in the position of taking a guy out of the game,” he

said. “Of course I am going to be sorry. He is one of the superstar

players in the game.”

The Rockies are confident that given the way

he handled the situation, Tulowitzki won’t be suspended. Jimenez,

however, is another story. Tracy said he will pursue a suspension of

Jimenez, and the fact that Selig saw the event unfold in person is not

good news for Jimenez.

And a suspension for a spring incident

isn’t unprecedented. Former Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis was

suspended for five regular-season games in 2007 for throwing a pitch

behind the back of San Diego’s Kevin Kouzmanoff in an exhibition game

after Padres reliever Doug Brocail hit Matt Holliday with a pitch for

the second time in four days.