SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals manager Jim Riggleman and pitcher Jason Marquis responded today to their respective suspensions and fines for involvement in the hit-by-pitch-a-thon that went on Arizona on Sunday afternoon.
Let’s start with Marquis, who was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount but is appealing the suspension. Marquis has never in 12 years in the major leagues been suspended (or even ejected, if his memory serves) but he was tossed Sunday afternoon after hitting Justin Upton with a pitch in the sixth inning after both benches had been warned.
The pitch happened with a man on in a one-run game that the Nationals, and Marquis, were trying to win. That will be his point, along with the fact that it was a sinker and moved a good deal in order to hit Upton, when he makes his case in his appeal.
“I’m trying to win a ballgame there,” he said Tuesday in the visitors clubhouse at AT&T Park. “I didn’t see anything other than me trying to make a pitch. I don’t understand why I would want to put the tying run on second base that late in the game.”
Marquis had told MASN’s Debbi Taylor on camera the day before his start that he has trouble controlling his sinker in Arizona because the dry heat makes it difficult for him to get a grip on the ball.
“That’s the one thing about Arizona,” he said. “The air so dry out there. Your hands never get sweaty, you never get the moisture as much as you want. Your mouth feels like cotton. That’s the tough thing for me in Arizona, the grip on the ball.
“If you actually watch where that pitch started, it started on the outer third and moved three feet. I mean, can I control, ‘I’m going to throw a three-foot sinker and hopefully it hits him?’ Most guys take a four-seamer and usually drill a guy. The catcher set up away. My ball moved three feet.”
Marquis’ main complaint on the day, and with his appeal, was that although warnings had been issued, there didn’t seem to be an cognizance of the game situation and it was just assumed there was intent behind the pitch. Riggleman agreed with that assessment.
“Obviouly there wasn’t even a thought behind it,” Marquis said. “Then again, I always thought warnings issued, you hit somebody, you get thrown out. If you’re going to throw me out in that situation, you get two more instances on the Diamondbacks side when they should have both been tossed, which they didn’t.”
Marquis was referring to Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy, who grazed Michael Morse with a pitch after warnings were issued, and reliever Joe Paterson, who hit Danny Espinosa in the foot with a pitch.
“I understand why (the suspensions) happened, certainly,” Riggleman said. “But if you hit somebody and it’s not intentional, you can understand Marquis being upset at that… If you intend to hit somebody, to me, you want the other team to know you intended to hit them. You don’t afterwards says we didn’t mean to hit you, that takes away the effect of hitting them. That’s like, we hit you but I’m sorry,when really you’re not sorry. I’ll tell you we weren’t trying to hit him. If we were trying to hit him, I’d dance around it and say other things but I know we were not trying to hit him.”
Marquis also felt his reputation in these situations may help him make his case.
“I’ve been in this game for 12 seasons,” he said. “Never been ejected, never been fined, never been suspended. I don’t know why I would start now… We’re trying to put something together here. The game is 1-0. You don’t want it to get away from you just because you’re trying to show your manhood.”
Riggleman served his one-game suspension Tuesday night with bench coach John McLaren taking over for him as the Nationals manager for one game. There is no timetable for Marquis’ appeal.