In recent years, Teixeira has publicly ripped the reliever, claiming Padilla was a headhunter who intentionally threw at hitters. The pair were teammates in Texas in 2006 and 2007, and Teixeira believed he took the brunt of the opposing teams’ retaliation when Padilla plunked batters.
The Yankees first baseman delivered payback Friday night when he belted the go-ahead run against the Red Sox reliever. After the game, Teixeira called Padilla out, saying he didn’t “have a lot of friends in this game and insinuated that Padilla should be suspended for his actions.
Upon learning of Teixeira’s comments, Padilla returned fire on Saturday. In a Spanish-language interview with NESN.com after Boston’s 9-5 victory over New York, he publicly responded to Teixeira’s jabs for the first time.
“The problem is he talks about all the wrong things that others have done, but the things he’s done — against the Latinos [on the Rangers] — he doesn’t open his mouth about,” Padilla said. “He once threatened me and said he was going to hit me with a bat, and that’s when we were playing on the same team.
“And then, he also had problems with Frank Francisco, our closer back then. But he doesn’t talk about that, does he? Then, of course, he goes on and makes those comments about me.”
The bad blood stems from June 9, 2005, when Padilla — then with the Phillies — hit Teixeira once after the slugger homered. The vitriol lingered when they became teammates in Texas, when Teixeira reportedly pleaded with Padilla to ease off on the aggressiveness. But Padilla said he continued pitching his way.
Over the past three years, the pair rarely crossed paths since they were in different leagues — Padilla pitched for the Dodgers, and Teixeira shined with the Yankees.
They are in the same division now, but Padilla isn’t necessarily the same pitcher. He’s only hit one batter this season, after plunking 107 over his 14-year career.
That’s why Padilla thinks Teixeira may have ulterior motives behind his verbal jabs.
“I just think he’s scared to face me,” Padilla said. “I don’t throw at people to hit them on purpose. I throw inside, and I’ve always thrown inside. It’s not my problem if the ball hits someone. I’m worried about throwing strikes, and I’m going to keep playing my game.”
In 18 career plate appearances against Padilla, Teixeira has been drilled three times. But Padilla insists that it’s not a personal vendetta, saying it was simply a byproduct of his aggressive pitching style.
“In this sport, as competitive ball players, we get pretty fired up,” Padilla said. “So I think, maybe, [Teixeira] picked the wrong profession. I think he’d be better off playing a women’s sport.”
And the war of words continues.