If he did it on his own, he’s an idiot. If he were told to do it, then fine the Miami Marlins’ franchise and suspend this (fill in your own insulting term) and the manager.
Jose Urena, the pitcher with the 3-12 record and 4.74 ERA, started Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. He didn’t stick around long.
With his first pitch – and one of the fastest he has thrown – he hit Braves leadoff hitter Ronald Acuna in the elbow.
No, it was no accident, though Acuna pitches guys in tight and has now hit 11 batters this season. Acuna, the Braves wunderkind, had hit leadoff home runs in three consecutive games. Urena made sure it wasn’t a fourth. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley observed – pitch around him, not at him.
Acuna was clearly stung and stunned, holding his elbow. Benches cleared. When a bit of order was restored, the Braves agitated some more and ultimately Urena was thrown out of the game without pitching to (or at) another batter. Acuna left the game in the next inning.
Acuna, a 20-year-old rookie, is one of baseball’s exploding stars, with a .288 average and 19 homers and 43 runs batted in 68 games. He had homered in five straight games. That streak, oddly, remains alive because being hit by a pitch doesn’t count as an at bat.
The Braves went on to win 5-2 and sweep the four-game series from the Marlins. The Braves lead the National League East by two games; the Marlins are 22 games behind them.
The Braves and Marlins play again next week. You can put money on a Marlins player being targeted (as per the famed unwritten rules of baseball). That will be wrong as well. But Urena started it. With any luck, he will be suspended through that series.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman