Former Marlins president defends Jose Urena for HBP on Braves' Ronald Acuna

Former Marlins president defends Jose Urena for HBP on Braves' Ronald Acuna

On Wednesday night in Atlanta, tempers flared between the Marlins and the Braves after rookie star Ronald Acuna was hit on the elbow by a 97.5 mph fastball from Miami starter Jose Urena.  It was the hardest pitch Urena has ever throw in the majors to start the game. Urena was ejected and Acuna, who entered the game with eight homers in eight games and had been tormenting the Marlins recently, thankfully dodged a serious injury.

We’ve covered this from several different angles and here’s yet another. On Thursday, CBS Sports HQ baseball analyst — also former Marlins president — David Samson said, “I loved what [Urena] did.” 

Here’s more from Samson’s appearance on CBS Sports HQ (video above):

“When you’re facing someone who is that hot, you’ve gotta get him uncomfortable. You’ve gotta get his feet moving.” 

Samson does believe that it was intentional but that Urena — who is “wild to begin with” — should have hit Acuna in a better spot. 

“Should he have hit him in the numbers or in the tushy, yes. I don’t like where he got him.” 

Samson went on to say that the Marlins should have started the game with a reliever, hit Acuna, seen the reliever get ejected and then went to Urena as if it was his “start” then. 

Urena is likely facing a suspension for the bench-clearing incident.

Benches clear after Marlins drill Braves rookie Ronald Acuna to open series finale in Atlanta

Benches clear after Marlins drill Braves rookie Ronald Acuna to open series finale in Atlanta

The Marlins and Braves played the final game of their four-game set in Atlanta on Wednesday night (MIA-ATL GameTracker), and Braves phenom Ronald Acuna came in on a historically rare hot streak. The 20-year-old has homered in five straight games, and he’s led off the last three games with a homer. More to point, he homered twice against the Marlins on Tuesday night. 

All of that from a rookie begat this from Miami starter Jose Urena … 

That looks to be on the left elbow at 97.5 mph. As ESPN Stats & Info notes, that’s the hardest pitch Urena has ever thrown to start a game.

To say the least, signs point to intentional. Which brings us to these extracurriculars … 

Urena was ejected. Speaking of which … 

Retaliation pitches are one thing, but pegging a guy merely because he’s hot is in essence a toddler’s fit of pique. Acuna took his position for the top of the second but was soon thereafter removed from the game. This, then, is of lesser importance but still worth noting … 

Fortunately, the news is as good as can be expected when it comes to Acuna’s left elbow. The Braves have announced that CT scans came back “normal” and he’s listed as day-to-day. 

Later in the game, Acuna’s mate Dansby Swanson hit a key homer of his own and finished with a familiar flourish … 

Don’t be surprised if this one isn’t over. You can’t drill a player as vital to a contender’s hopes as Acuna is without some blowback. These two teams will get together again starting Aug. 23, for what it’s worth. 

Benches clear after Marlins drill Braves phenom Ronald Acuna to open series finale in Atlanta

Benches clear after Marlins drill Braves phenom Ronald Acuna to open series finale in Atlanta

The Marlins and Braves played the final game of their four-game set in Atlanta on Wednesday night (MIA-ATL GameTracker), and Braves phenom Ronald Acuna came in on a historically rare hot streak. The 20-year-old has homered in five straight games, and he’s led off the last three games with a homer. More to point, he homered twice against the Marlins on Tuesday night. 

All of that from a rookie begat this from Miami starter Jose Urena … 

That looks to be on the left elbow at 97.5 mph. As ESPN Stats & Info notes, that’s the hardest pitch Urena has ever thrown to start a game.

To say the least, signs point to intentional. Which brings us to these extracurriculars … 

Urena was ejected. Speaking of which … 

Retaliation pitches are one thing, but pegging a guy merely because he’s hot is in essence a toddler’s fit of pique. Acuna took his position for the top of the second but was soon thereafter removed from the game. This, then, is of lesser importance but still worth noting … 

Later in the game, Acuna’s mate Dansby Swanson hit a key homer of his own and finished with a familiar flourish … 

Don’t be surprised if this one isn’t over. You can’t drill a player as vital to a contender’s hopes as Acuna is without some blowback. These two teams will get together again starting Aug. 23, for what it’s worth. 

The 'disgusting' act of poor sportsmanship that has America fuming

The 'disgusting' act of poor sportsmanship that has America fuming

A 20-year-old rising star has become the victim of a ‘completely classless’ act, and fans are absolutely furious.

You probably haven’t heard the name Ronald Acuna Jr, but he’s all the baseball world is talking about right now.

The Atlanta Braves rookie has spent the week hammering Miami Marlins pitching, leading off each of the first three games in a four-game series with a home run.

Acuña had also homered in a Braves franchise record-tying five straight games.

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Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 (R) of the Atlanta Braves reacts to being hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

He was looking to become just the second player in MLB history to lead off four-straight games with a home run on Thursday (AEST), but the Marlins had other ideas.

In the final game of the series, the Marlins flipped the script in a painful way when starting pitcher Jose Urena drilled Acuña in the elbow with their first pitch of the game.

The 157km/h fastball hit Acuña square in the left elbow and left the hot-hitting rookie in pain.

View photos
The benches clear after Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves was hit by by a pitch from Jose Urena of the Miami Marlins at the start of the first inning at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

From there, the situation escalated into a benches-clearing incident as the Braves clearly felt there were bad intentions behind Urena’s pitch.

It’s never easy to read true intentions of a pitcher, but the visual evidence here seems to speak volumes.

The measurable readings offer more evidence that Urena was really ramping up the velocity on his first delivery.

Urena was immediately ejected from the game.

It’s the first time a pitcher has been ejected for hitting the first batter since John Lackey of the Los Angeles Angels hit Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers on May 16, 2009.

Both benches were also warned. The game resumed after a brief delay, but the Braves weren’t ready to let it go after taking a dig on Twitter.

Fans and experts were also livid that Urena had taken such unsportsmanlike measures to slow down the red-hot rookie.

with Mark Townsend – Yahoo Sports

Acuna hits another leadoff homer, Braves beat Marlins 10-6

Acuna hits another leadoff homer, Braves beat Marlins 10-6

Ronald Acuna Jr. became the youngest player in major league history to homer in five straight games, hitting a leadoff shot on the first pitch and later adding a three-run drive to help the surging Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 10-6 on Tuesday night.

The 20-year-old Acuna homered on Miami’s first pitch for the second straight night and became the first player to hit a leadoff homer in three consecutive games since Baltimore’s Brady Anderson went deep in four straight in 1996. On Monday, he became the fourth player in major league history to hit leadoff homers in both games of a doubleheader.

Acuna connected in the first off Trevor Richards and homered to right-center, his 19th of the year, off Adam Conley (3-3) to give the Braves a 10-6 lead in the seventh.

Freddie Freeman hit his 20th homer to tie it in the sixth, and Dansby Swanson had a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh as the NL East-leading Braves won for the 13th time in 17 games.

Acuna, who has homered in seven of his last eight games, and Charlie Culberson homered on Richards’ first two pitches. Jesse Biddle (4-1) won in relief.

GIANTS 2, DODGERS 1

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yasiel Puig took a swing at Giants catcher Nick Hundley during a benches-clearing scrap in the seventh inning, then Alen Hanson hit an RBI single in the ninth to lift San Francisco over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The fracas starter when Puig swatted his bat in frustration after fouling off a pitch from Tony Watson, and Hundley said something to the mercurial slugger while still in his crouch. Puig turned around and walked toward Hundley, the catcher stood up, and they stood face to face and argued for a moment before Puig shoved Hundley twice.

That brought players out of the benches and bullpens. Puig and Hundley were momentarily separated, but Puig ducked around teammates, coaches and manager Dave Roberts before reaching back to hit Hundley. He smacked Hundley with an open hand across the front of his catcher’s mask. Both players were ejected.

Hansen’s single in the ninth came off Kenta Maeda (7-8), making his first relief appearance of the season, and gave the Dodgers their fifth consecutive loss, all against the bullpen. The Dodgers had a play at the plate, but catcher Yasmani Grandal dropped the throw home.

The Dodgers tied it with two outs in the eighth on Justin Turner’s third double and Manny Machado’s base hit off Sam Dyson (3-2). It was Machado’s first RBI this month. Will Smith threw a scoreless ninth to earn his 10th save.

ANGELS 7, PADRES 3

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Justin Upton had three hits, including a home run for the second straight night, and drove in three runs to lead the Los Angeles Angels over San Diego.

Eric Young Jr. tripled and had two RBIs, and rookie Taylor Ward had two hits, including an RBI double in his first major league at-bat.

Freddy Galvis homered in the third straight game for the Padres.

Jaime Barria (8-7) won for the third time in four starts after losing six in a row. Brett Kennedy (0-2) gave up five runs over five innings in his second major league start.

ATHLETICS 3, MARINERS 2

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jed Lowrie hit his 100th career homer long after his line drive knocked Mariners ace James Paxton out of the game, and the Oakland Athletics moved within one game of the slumping Houston Astros for the AL West lead.

Felix Hernandez (8-11) replaced Paxton in the first relief appearance of his career after 398 starts. The former Cy Young Award winner, who has struggled all year and was demoted to the bullpen last week, allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Paxton suffered a bruise on his left forearm after Lowrie’s line drive popped him in the first inning, and X-rays taken later were negative.

Mike Fiers (8-6) gave up two runs on six hits in his second start since being acquired in a trade from Detroit. Oakland won its fourth straight and improved to 17-6 since the All-Star break.

Robinson Cano returned to Seattle’s lineup after serving an 80-game suspension for using a diuretic that can mask performance-enhancing drugs. The eight-time All-Star batted second and played first base, going 1 for 4.

Four Oakland relievers combined to pitch three scoreless innings. Blake Treinen worked the ninth for his 32nd save in 36 opportunities.

WHITE SOX 6, TIGERS 3

DETROIT (AP) — Ryan LaMarre hit his first major league home run, a drive that bounced off the top of the bullpen shelter in left field and into the hands of his uncle, as Chicago beat Detroit.

LaMarre was born 10 miles north of Comerica Park and played college baseball at Michigan.

Chicago won for the second time in eight games, improving to 2-9 against Detroit this season.

Lucas Giolito (8-9) allowed three runs in six innings. Xavier Cedeno got his first save since Aug. 11, 2015.

Blaine Hardy (4-5) gave up four runs in four innings.

ROCKIES 5, ASTROS 1

HOUSTON (AP) — Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story each went deep, German Marquez pitched well in a matchup with Justin Verlander, and Colorado beat slumping Houston.

The Astros have matched a season high with five straight losses and extended their home skid to nine games.

Colorado trailed 1-0 and Verlander (11-8) had retired 13 of 14 when DJ LeMahieu singled with two outs in the sixth inning. Arenado then hit a 96-mph fastball into the third row in right field for his 30th homer.

Marquez (10-9) allowed just three hits and a run while fanning seven in seven innings.

Verlander was denied his 200th win again as he dropped his second straight despite striking out 11 in six innings, allowing six hits and two runs.

CARDINALS 6, NATIONALS 4

ST. LOUIS (AP) — John Gant homered for his first major league hit and pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning, helping St. Louis to its season-high seventh consecutive victory.

Kolten Wong had three hits and three RBIs as St. Louis (65-55) pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Cubs and moved within one game of the Phillies for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals also improved to 18-9 since Mike Shildt became interim manager on July 13, the most wins for a manager through his first 27 games in franchise history.

The Nationals (60-60) have dropped six of eight to fall eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

Gant (5-4) permitted four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He was 0 for 30 for his career when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez (7-9) over the wall in left in the second.

Jordan Hicks got three outs for his fourth save in eight chances.

RED SOX 2, PHILLIES 1

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pinch-hitter Brock Holt hit a tiebreaking solo homer, Rick Porcello threw seven impressive innings and the major league-leading Red Sox won again.

Sandy Leon also went deep for Boston, which improved to 86-35. The Red Sox increased their total to 168 homers, matching their number from last year when they hit an AL-low 168.

Porcello (15-5) gave up one run and two hits, striking out 10. Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 36th save.

Rhys Hoskins homered, but the Phillies wasted a solid outing from Nick Pivetta. He allowed one run and three hits in six innings.

Holt hit the first pitch he saw from Tommy Hunter (3-2) in the eighth off the video screen on the facing of the second deck in right field.

INDIANS 8, REDS 1

CINCINNATI (AP) — Jose Ramirez hit his 36th home run and Cleveland ace Corey Kluber extended his dominance over Cincinnati.

The Indians have won the first two games of the series by a combined 18-4 despite a rough week with outfielder Leonys Martin hospitalized with a serious bacterial infection and right-hander Trevor Bauer on the DL with a fractured right leg.

Kluber (15-6) allowed one run and five hits and struck out seven in seven innings. In his past four starts against the Reds, he is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

Sal Romano (7-10) left after allowing six runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings, the shortest start of his career.

BREWERS 7, CUBS 0

CHICAGO (AP) — Ryan Braun hit two of Milwaukee’s four homers, Jhoulys Chacin struck out 10 in seven innings and the Brewers cut into the Cubs NL Central lead.

Lorenzo Cain homered on Jose Quintana’s second pitch. Braun hit a two-run drive in the first and third. Erik Kratz added a solo homer in the sixth and an RBI double in the eighth.

Chacin (12-4) allowed three hits and walked two. The Brewers pulled within two games of the Cubs after dropping eight of 11 against them.

Quintana (10-9) got tagged for five runs and six hits in five innings after dominating the Brewers over seven previous starts.

YANKEES 4, RAYS 1

NEW YORK (AP) — J.A. Happ allowed one soft single in seven shutout innings to win his third consecutive start since being traded from Toronto to the New York Yankees.

Happ (13-6) struck out four and walked four, throwing 71 of 106 pitches for strikes. The only Tampa Bay hit he permitted was a flyball by C.J. Cron that fell in front of left fielder Brett Gardner in the fourth.

Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman completed a crisp three-hitter that took just 2 hours, 32 minutes. Shaking off some recent struggles, Chapman worked a one-hit ninth for his 31st save in 33 chances.

Hunter Wood (0-1) got the loss.

DIAMONDBACKS 6, RANGERS 4

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt hit his 27th homer to put Arizona ahead to stay, and All-Star lefty Patrick Corbin worked seven innings for his 10th victory.

Corbin (10-4) struck out seven without a walk while allowing three runs and throwing 66 of 96 pitches for strikes. He has made 10 consecutive starts without allowing a homer, the longest span for the Diamondbacks in 15 years and matching Boston’s Chris Sale for the longest active streak in the majors.

Goldschmidt went deep to left in the first with a solo shot off Yovani Gallardo (7-2). Arizona led 4-0 in the fourth after Daniel Descalso had an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch. Descalso earlier had an RBI groundout.

Brad Boxberger worked the ninth for his 27th save in 32 chances.

TWINS 5, PIRATES 2

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jorge Polanco got two hits, scored twice and drove in two runs and Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer, leading Minnesota over Pittsburgh.

Jake Odorizzi (5-7) won for the first time in six starts, striking out nine in 5 2/3 innings. Trevor Hildenberger, the Twins’ fourth reliever, pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save since the trade of closer Fernando Rodney.

Jameson Taillon (9-9) finished six innings and allowed three earned runs, the 14th straight time he’s taken the mound and surrendered no more than that.

BLUE JAYS 6, ROYALS 5

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kevin Pillar hit a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to lift Toronto over Kansas.

Blaine Boyer (2-1) retired his first two batters before walking Aledmys Diaz and backing Pillar into an 0-2 count. Pillar hit the next pitch over the wall down the left field line.

Ken Giles worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save and second with the Blue Jays since being acquired from Houston on July 30.

Salvador Perez and Jorge Bonifacio hit back-to-back doubles in the seventh off Jake Petricka (2-1) to give the Royals a short-lived 5-4 lead.

ORIOLES 6, METS 3

BALTIMORE (AP) — Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Tim Beckham each homered to back a strong performance by starter Andrew Cashner, and Baltimore snapped a five-game skid.

Baltimore won both games against the Mets at Citi Field on June 5-6 and can complete the season sweep Wednesday.

Cashner (4-10) retired 10 consecutive batters before Jeff McNeil singled on a ground ball that caromed off first base in the fourth inning. Cashner allowed two runs and five hits with three strikeouts and three walks over seven innings.

Davis broke a 2-2 tie with a towering shot in the seventh off Bobby Wahl (0-1). Renato Nunez added an RBI single later that inning off Paul Sewald.

Marlins promote prolific hitting prospect; Realmuto regaining his rhythm at the plate

Marlins promote prolific hitting prospect; Realmuto regaining his rhythm at the plate

He’s had arguably the most productive hitting season of any Marlins’ prospect in the minors this season.

On Wednesday afternoon, Austin Dean got his first crack at the majors.

The Marlins recalled Dean from Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday and optioned utility player Christopher Bostick to the Baby Cakes.

Dean, a fourth round draft pick of the Marlins in 2012, was added to the Marlins’ 40-man roster filling the spot vacated by pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne after he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations late Tuesday night.

Marlins’ CEO Derek Jeter has said multiple times this season that the players the organization feels are performing the best will get opportunities.

Dean, 24, has hit .326 with nine home runs and 54 RBI in 87 games (316 at-bats) at New Orleans. Before that, Dean hit .420 with three homers and 14 RBI in 22 games (81 at-bats) at Double A Jacksonville.

“He’s just a guy that’s been able to use the whole field and handle different pitches,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s been able to hit the fastball, which is a good sign because he’s going to see a lot of those up here.”

Dean, the club’s No. 28 prospect per MLB Pipeline, played 649 minor-league games over the past six years – seeing action on every Marlins’ affiliate – to earn his major league opportunity.

“When I got called up to Triple A it was my second time getting promoted during a season,” Dean said. “I think the organization is doing a good job promoting guys that are doing well and deserve to show they can play.”

Dean, who was born in Spring, Texas, the same hometown of former Marlins’ great Josh Beckett, played with a lot of the players on the Marlins’ active roster at one level or another on his journey to the majors.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” Dean said. “I still can’t really even take it in yet. I’m just excited to be with the guys.”

Dean said his parents, his girl friend of five years, his trainer and his agent all attended Wednesday’s game. He said his girl friend, Sarah Kirby, was the first person he told when he got the news of his promotion.

“We’ve been together for five years so she’s been with me through the long haul of this process,” Dean said. “When I told her she busted out in tears. She’s been a huge support in my life and keeping me sane in this journey in baseball. My dad’s had a huge influence in my life in baseball and so has my mom.”

With Martin Prado on the disabled list with a left quad strain for at least eight more days, and Miguel Rojas also ailing from a bruised left ankle, Brian Anderson moved back to third base on Wednesday.

Dean started in left field where he played 66 games in the minors this season. Dean also played in right field 37 games.

Last week, Dean was named the Pacific Coast League’s Player of the Week hitting a league-best .647 in five games.

“He’s had a tremendous season and it’s always nice when players put themselves on the radar,” Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said. “He’s opened a lot of eyes this year. He’s taken a big step forward this year. He mastered Double A and we wanted to see how he’d respond to the challenge of Triple A and he continued the same quality at-bats. Suffice to say given our injury situation we definitely talked about him and how he might possibly fit.”

IMG_Marlins_Braves_Basea_2_1_63E9AV9K_L411002203.JPG

Miami Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto follows through on two-run base hit in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

John Bazemore AP

REGAINING HIS STRIDE

J.T. Realmuto, who tied the game in the third with a two-run home run and gave the Marlins a brief lead with a single in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s 10-6 loss, seems to have broken out of a recent slump he’d been mired in since the All-Star break.

Over the past six games, Realmuto is 7 for 17 with a home run, two doubles and five RBI. He has also walked four times and overall has reached base in 12 of his past 23 plate appearances. Realmuto hit .186 (11 for 59) from July 22 to Aug. 8.

“I’m feeling better and starting to see the ball better,” Realmuto said. “I went through that slump where I was a little late and wasn’t swinging at good pitches.”

THIS AND THAT

The Marlins traded Despaigne to the Angels for cash considerations. Despaigne, 31, opened the season in the Marlins’ rotation before being moved to the bullpen and was eventually optioned to Triple A New Orleans. This season, Despaigne went 2-0 with a 5.31 ERA in 20 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts and eight walks. Despaigne is 13-21 with a 4.76 ERA in 331 career major-league innings.

Lewis Brinson (hip bone bruise) played his first rehab game at Double A Jacksonville on Tuesday and went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.

Kyle Barraclough (lower back stiffness) threw about 20 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday.

COMING UP

Thursday: OFF.

Friday: Miami Marlins RHP Dan Straily (4-5, 4.42 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals TBA, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

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