As most teams prepare for their Opening Day games, Dominican pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez is getting a lot of attention today, but it's probably not the kind he wants. Instead of talking about his potential for the season, the headlines are for a fastball pitch Jiménez threw to former teammate Troy Tulowitzki.
Jiménez was traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Cleveland Indians last summer and in a spring training game on April 1st, Jiménez hit Tulowitzki in the arm. As you can imagine, this caused chaos on the field. Immediately after the hit, Tulowitzki started walking towards Jiménez -- who wasted no time in stepping off the mound himself -- prompting the Indians catcher to follow him in order to prevent a physical altercation. Meanwhile, players from both teams streamed onto the field, as inevitably happens when a fight is imminent.
Tulowitzki and Rockies manager Jim Tracy believe the hit was intentional, but Jiménez insists that he lost control of his pitch. Tracy is so upset, he even said it was "the most gutless act" he's seen in his baseball career and that he's lost all respect for Jiménez.
Ouch. It must hurt to hear that.
The real question now is what consequences Jiménez will face, if any. Many are calling for his suspension and are certain the MLB is working on that announcement today. His refusal to apologize to Tulowitzki, whose elbow is swollen and wrapped after the hit, isn't helping him get any sympathy votes from most fans.
A fan caught the incident on video; see it for yourself.