Postscript from the fracas
Manager Jim Leyland wasn’t saying much after the game — on anything, really, but especially the second inning. Fortunately, the players were talking. Here’s a roundup of the reactions from the Tigers.
Starter Rick Porcello didn’t take questions on his role, but gave a general quote on his view of the situation:
“The only thing I have to say about tonight is that I was not intentionally throwing at Kevin Youkilis,” Porcello said. “That’s all I have to say. It was unintentional. There was nobody on. It’s a 3-0 game. I was not trying to hit him intentionally.”
Porcello didn’t say anything about his surprise that Youkilis charged him, but his expression when it happened said it all. The fact that catcher Alex Avila couldn’t get to him spoke to his surprise.
“Once it hit him,” Avila said, “I looked at him to see what he was going to do, and he kind of just stood there. I didn’t think he was going to charge. I reached back to get another ball, and he took off. I wasn’t able to get between him and Porcello, and Rick was more surprised than I was.”
Avila said it was supposed to be a sinker down and in.
Porcello also said he was unharmed in the pile. A good part of the credit for that should go to Brandon Inge, who tried to keep other players from piling on, and Gerald Laird, who pulled Porcello out.
“I was in there just trying to get to him and get him out,” Laird said. “You don’t want to see one of your stars get hurt. A lot of things can happen in a pile.”
Said Inge: “Basically, there were a couple people that jumped on top of me. I was on Youkilis. At that point, I was kind of wrapped up, trying to pull him off. Youkilis was kind of on top of Porcello, I was on Youkilis, someone else was on me, and they were piling on. I feared that we were going to crush Porcello, so I took my arms off of Youkilis and put my hands on the ground and try to hold the pile off the two of them.”
Laird not only came to Porcello’s defense physically, but also postgame.
“Miggy’s a big slugger in the middle of our lineup, and you’ve got to protect your sluggers,” Laird said. “Today, that wasn’t intentional, but that’s the second time they hit him, and they hit two guys yesterday. That’s just part of the game. I don’t think Ricky meant anything by the Youkilis thing, but the one in the first inning with Martinez, it’s just to show them. You’re gonna pitch inside, we’re gonna pitch inside. That’s just the way it is. It’s baseball, and today it just got a little out of hand.”