Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki, second from left, and Cleveland Indians… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)
It appears Cleveland Indians pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is still bitter about his trade from the Colorado Rockies last summer.
Playing against his former club for the first time Sunday in an exhibition game, Jimenez drilled Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki in the first inning to reignite a bitter feud between the All-Star pitcher and the club that once labeled him as its top pitching prospect.
The incident caused both benches to empty onto the field as Jimenez and Tulowitzki jawed back and forth while being separated by the home plate umpire and teammates. No punches were thrown and no ejections were issued as Cleveland went on to win, 12-10.
Tulowitzki left the game and was taken to a hospital to have precautionary X-rays on his elbow. Although the X-rays were negative, his opening day status remains unclear.
Jimenez claimed he hit Tulowitzki by accident, saying that it was “just one pitch that got away that could happen to anybody.”
Colorado’s All-Star shortstop wasn’t necessarily buying the explanation.
“From my take, as soon as he hit me it just seemed like he wanted a little more. That's when the confrontation started,” Tulowitzki said. “I definitely wasn't happy about being hit. I don't think you ever are … so it was back and forth. Not saying it was just him or me.”
Colorado Manager Jim Tracy had a clearer stance on Jimenez’s action, calling it “the most gutless act I've seen in 35 years in the game, that's what I saw.
“Five days before opening day, you're going to take a pot shot like that? It's the worst I've ever seen. I've lost all respect for him, and that's a very difficult thing for me to say with all the players I've had to manage over the years. I've lost all respect for him, every bit.”
Jimenez told Foxsports.com recently that he was upset that the Rockies didn’t re-sign him last year. Tulowitzki later told the Denver Post that Jimenez needed to forget what happened in Colorado and move on.
Jimenez apologized for hitting Tulowitzki.
“Of course I'm going to be sorry, he's one of the superstar players in the game,” Jimenez said. “You don't want to be in the position that you're going to take the guy out of the game. He was my ex-teammate.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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