The Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres collided at the plate and, later, in opinion Monday night.
Anthony Rizzo tried to score on a sixth-inning flyout to center field, but Matt Szczur’s throw to home plate beat the Cubs star there by a country mile. Rizzo tried to force the issue, though, and absolutely crushed Padres catcher Austin Hedges in the process.
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Hedges ended worse for wear, having to leave the game with a bruised thigh, and Padres manager Andy Green was livid about the whole affair after his team’s 3-2 loss at Wrigley Field.
“It’s a fairly egregious violation of the rule,” Green said, via MLB.com. “The rule exists to protect that catcher. …
“I think it’s a cheap shot,” Green added. “I’m not saying (Rizzo) is a dirty player at all. No one is saying that. But he clearly deviated from his path to hit our catcher and took our catcher out. The rule exists to protect him.”
What Green referred is Rule 7.13, which was instituted three years ago and reads: “A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher.” And a still shot of the play appears to show Rizzo had room to slide on Hedges’ left side.
Instead, Rizzo went off the baseline and right into Hedges, although Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t see a problem with the play.
“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Maddon said, via MLB.com. “That’s part of the game. If the catcher’s in the way, you hit him.”
Luckily, Hedges appears to be OK, but Green seemingly wants some sort of punishment for Rizzo — and one Chicago columnist even agrees with him.
“That’s something where baseball needs to consider how you handle situations like this after it occurs,” Green said, via MLB.com. “Because if there’s some sort of penalty now, then people think twice about it. If something happens with Anthony Rizzo’s next number of games, then they think twice about taking that shot. That’s up to the Commissioner’s Office to make that type of determination. That’s not up to me.”
Thumbnail photo via Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports Images