Benches clear after Jimenez hits Tulowitzki with pitch

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — His left elbow swollen and wrapped, Troy Tulowitzki felt confident that he would be ready for Opening Day.

He wasn’t so certain whether former Colorado teammate Ubaldo Jimenez had deliberately drilled him, putting the All-Star shortstop’s status in jeopardy.

Jimenez nailed Tulowitzki with the first pitch Sunday, carrying their festering feud onto the field and prompting the Cleveland Indians and Rockies to clear the benches.

“You guys will have to talk to him and see if it was intentional or unintentional,” Tulowitzki said. “I didn’t expect anything and the emotions took over. A couple of words were exchanged but nothing more than that.”

Tulowitzki and Jimenez got up close and personal, with the plate umpire and players on both sides holding them back. Tulowitzki was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays on his elbow, which were negative.

“From my take, as soon as he hit me it just seemed like he wanted a little more. That’s when the confrontation started,” Tulowitzki said. “I definitely wasn’t happy about being hit. I don’t think you ever are … so it was back and forth. Not saying it was just him or me.”

Rockies manager Jim Tracy, however, called it “the most gutless act I’ve seen in 35 years in the game, that’s what I saw.”

“That’s exactly what I witnessed,” Tracy said. “He intentionally threw at him, he should be suspended. I’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t get suspended because he deserves to be suspended.”

Injured thumb for Boston’s Bailey

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said closer Andrew Bailey will travel to Boston on Monday to have his right thumb examined.

Bailey, who was acquired in a December trade with the Athletics, has not pitched in a major league game since March 25, against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. He pitched 1⅔ innings in a minor league game Wednesday.

The extent of Bailey’s injury is not known. Valentine said it began bothering Bailey during the March 21 game in Bradenton against the Pirates, but Valentine was not made aware of it until Friday.

Also Sunday, Valentine announced that Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard will fill out the Boston rotation, with Alfredo Aceves heading to the bullpen.

Around the league

• REDS-BRAVES TRADE: Cincinnati Reds third baseman Juan Francisco to Atlanta for right-hander J.J. Hoover on Sunday. The 24-year-old Francisco has a career batting average of .284 with five home runs and 29 RBI in 81 games in the majors. Hoover was drafted by Atlanta in 2008. The Reds will assign him to Triple-A Louisville.

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