CINCINNATI – Right or wrong, the Pirates’ pitching staff has gotten the reputation as being headhunters around the major leagues, and particularly within the National League Central.
However, Clint Hurdle said Wednesday morning that the Pirates do not condone throwing at hitters. His comments came in the wake of Tuesday night’s brawl in a 11-4 victory against the Reds that saw five players ejected.
“The comments that I have heard, to some degree, that this is something we teach, this is something we condone, could not be more far from the truth,” Hurdle said referring to Reds manager David Bell’s remarks in his postgame press conference Tuesday night.
On July 4, Cubs manager Joe Maddon charged toward the Pirates’ dugout in a game at PNC Park because he felt his hitters were being thrown at, too, and afterward complained that the Pirates throw up and in too often and put hitters at risk of injury.
Hurdle said that is not the case and that he has had conversations with Major League Baseball Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre about ways to rid the game of the time-honored practice of pitchers throwing at opposing hitters in retaliation for their teammates getting thrown at.
“I can’t change anybody’s perception, but I can let my actions speak (as) an advocate for trying to make this better and getting it out of the way of the game, because this is not why we play the game,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates and Reds faced each other in the finale of three-game series Wednesday afternoon, not quite 15 hours after the brawl. However, Hurdle anticipated no repercussions.
“I speak for myself personally, you flush it,” he said. “You wash it, and you go.”