Wednesday night, Miami Marlins pitcher José Ureña hit Atlanta’ Ronald Acuña Jr. with a pitch. It wasn’t just any pitch, however. Ureña went after him with his first pitch of the game — a 97.5 MPH fastball. Unfortunately (but definitely intentionally), it hit Acuña near his elbow. Thankfully, the 20-year-old Braves outfielder would find himself back in the lineup the next day. But he did have to leave the game on Wednesday night.
None of this changes the fact that what Ureña did was and is bad. It’s really quite that simple. Pitchers need to stop throwing at people intentionally. Teams need to suck it up when their opponent shows emotion. It’s not like the opposing player is trying to show anybody up. They’re just happy that they did their job well! This is a (redacted) game, after all. And yet, MLB does nothing to discourage this type of nonsense. Instead, they gave Ureña a six-game suspension — which he is appealing anyway. In other words, Ureña will miss one start… and that’s IF he loses his appeal.
But don’t worry, he’s happy that Acuña isn’t hurt! No, really. In a statement on Instagram translated by Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, he says:
“While pitching against the Braves, my intentions were not to hurt anyone.”
Let’s stop right there. That’s the first line — the very FIRST line. You threw right at him, my dude. It’s awfully difficult to defend that. When you piece together that Acuña had four home runs in his last three games against the Marlins — including a lead-off dinger in all three of them — motive isn’t exactly hard to prove. Ureña was sick of his team getting their asses kicked, and he went about responding in the dumbest way possible. But we’ll let him continue.
“I was pitching my game plan as I always do. Unfortunately, things escalated into something that was never intended. I am glad and thankful Ronald Acuña was able to return to the lineup this evening without there being any issues. I am a competitor and want to compete anytime I am on the mound, and have the utmost respect for those who I compete against.”
That’s good damage control. Seriously. This is PR 101.
In the meantime, the Marlins are 48-76. Not only is that bad, but it’s almost the worst record in the National League. The San Diego Padres, 48-77, just have that extra loss. Additionally, the Marlins have lost six in a row and 15 of their last 17.
Yeah, I would certainly be mad too. That doesn’t mean I would try to hurt somebody, though. Quite simply, baseball needs to do better.