Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Garza comes to Longo's defense

Evan Longoria is precious cargo and when that cargo is threatened, well, you retaliate.

That's one of those unwritten rules of baseball.

Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who leads the major leagues in hit batters, threw an 86 mph pitcher over Longoria's head in the fourth inning of the Rays 6-2 loss Wednesday night.

The next inning, Rays starter Matt Garza hit Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira on the left shoulder. It wasn't so much a hit as it was a grazing, but Garza felt he made a point.

"I kind of got tired of them pushing (Longoria) back. I decided to make a statement," Garza said.

Longo bats third in the order. Teixeira bats third in the Yankees order.

Garza nipped Teixeira after walking Johnny Damon with two out. That looked kind of foolish since it put runners on first and second and brought Alex Rodriguez to the plate in a game the Yankees led 2-0. One swing and it's 5-0 Yankees and ball game.

But Garza got Rodriguez swinging to end the threat.

The Yankees lead the majors in hitting batters, thanks to the addition of A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia. Perhaps that's retaliation for all the times pitchers throw at Derek Jeter and Rodriguez.

Hitting batters is one way the players police the game.

Garza, whether he got the attention of the Yankees or not, decided enough was enough.

"I hate to be that guy, but someone had to take a stand and go after them," he said.

Garza felt the Yankees were throwing at the Rays best player. So, he went after the Yankees top home run and RBI producer.

We'll see how this plays out down the road.

We'll also see if Garza is fined for admitting he threw at a batter.

Think Longo might pick up the check?

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