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Tony La Russa defends Diamondbacks, calls criticism unfair

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Tony La Russa doesn't understand why Arizona is catching so much grief.
Tony La Russa doesn't understand why Arizona is catching so much grief. (USATSI)

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In light of the recent controversy involving Paul Goldschmidt's broken hand that was caused by a pitch from Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri and the ensuing Randall Delgado pitch that hit Andrew McCutchen in the back (which may or may not have fractured a rib), MLB and Diamondbacks executive Tony La Russa believes the Diamondbacks have been unfairly criticized nationally.

Some of that criticism has come here, here and here.

From azcentral.com, here are some of La Russa's responses:

"I don't see where the Diamondbacks should catch all this (expletive) they're catching," La Russa said.
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"Who's got a mind reader?" said La Russa, the Diamondbacks' Chief Baseball Officer. "I don't know that Delgado — he got the ball inside. I'm very careful when I say I know. If I don't know, I don't know."

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"What surprises me about this one is Pittsburgh is one of those clubs. And I don't judge because if that's the way you want to pitch, you need to understand — with those rewards, it comes with risks. There's an old expression that you learn in competition — there ain't no free lunch."

La Russa also pointed out that the Pirates have hit 61 batters this season, leading the league.

I can clarify that the difference is what I believe to be intent, in that the Frieri/Goldschmidt pitch wasn't intentional but the Delgado/McCutchen pitch was. I would further note that unintentional hit batsmen are a very unfortunate occupational hazard while intentionally drilling guys is an archaic and pretty barbaric practice that consciously risks injury.

On the flip-side, I will gladly concede La Russa's point that we can't read the minds of the pitchers. So I'll say that if Delgado's pitch was an accident, I'm sorry, Arizona. By the same token, if Frieri's pitch was intentional, I'm sorry Arizona.

Moving forward, maybe it would behoove the Pirates to stop pitching inside so often, but I will continue to maintain the idea that accidental hit-by-pitches are totally different than purpose pitches.

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