Rebuilding Padres say brawl can bring them closer together

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Friday, April 13, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Showing some fight seems to be a good thing for the rebuilding San Diego Padres.

While awaiting word on punishment from Major League Baseball for their brawl Wednesday with the Colorado Rockies, the Padres vowed not to get pushed around by anyone.

After five Padres batters were hit in six games against the Rockies this season, including Manuel Margot taking a fastball to the ribs Tuesday night and going on the disabled list, the Padres felt enough was enough.

Luis Perdomo threw a pitch behind Nolan Arenado in the third inning Wednesday and the All-Star rushed the mound, setting off a brawl that led to five ejections, including Perdomo, Arenado and San Diego catcher A.J. Ellis.

It also led to a sense of camaraderie for the Padres, who were labeled as soft by some when they chose not to retaliate after Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs slammed into Austin Hedges at the plate last year, sidelining the catcher for a few games. MLB determined that Rizzo violated the home plate collision rule, but didn't punish him.

Manager Andy Green wouldn't say if someone called for Perdomo's purpose pitch or if the situation simply hit critical mass.

"We'll keep stuff like that in house. That's kind of how that stuff should be handled."

Hedges replaced Ellis Wednesday.

"Obviously anytime a thing like that happens it brings your team together a little bit," Hedges said Thursday before the Padres opened a series against San Francisco. "We definitely want to get the impression out there that we're not going to let teams run all over us. We're going to go out there and no matter who you are, we're going to be competing out there to win a ballgame no matter what it takes.

"It kind of brings your team together and that's what it did for us."

Green said there was good and bad that came from the brawl, which sparked the Rockies to a 6-4 win.

"We got knocked off kilter yesterday, honestly," Green said. "We didn't play a good half inning. We came back and played a very good rest of the ballgame ... but it took us a half inning and that half inning was five runs. You've got to be able to handle those emotions.

"It was a great experience for a young club to go through," Green added. "You go through an experience like that and you understand the emotions that ensue and you understand what you've got to control. But for me I think those things are valuable to build a contender. As you go through emotions like that you learn how to handle them."

Eric Hosmer, who joined the Padres as a free agent from the Kansas City Royals, said it was a matter of players policing the situation.

"We handled it on the field, it was done and we finished the game and moved on from it," he said. "But I do think teams can become stronger from it. You're on a team, you expect to have everybody's back. When you go through something like that and see everybody having your back and seeing everybody coming together, it reassures you that it's true."

Hosmer said Perdomo's pitch sent a message.

"We don't want to feel intimidated by anybody and I'm sure other teams don't want to feel intimidated by us. It's a bunch of competitors and you're competing at the highest level you can possibly compete on and there are going to be some times where tensions are raised a little bit and it's all part of baseball. That's the reason a lot of us are in this position, because of the intensity and competitiveness we all have.

"We all realize we're all competing at a high level out there. Guys got fired up and it was done and it was over after that."

Right fielder Hunter Renfroe was hit on the hand in the second inning, after Colorado's Trevor Story was plunked in the first.

Renfroe said his hand was bruised but otherwise fine.

He also thinks things were settled Wednesday.

"I think everything's behind. I think everybody's good with it," he said. "It's hard baseball. We're all big boys here. We can get over it and put things aside, and obviously we're here to play baseball."

The Padres took two of three from the Rockies after losing three of four to them in San Diego last week.

The Padres return to Colorado for a three-game series April 23-25.