(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Tuesday's little flare-up between Mark Teixeira and Vicente Padilla got me thinking.
Part of the reason pitchers plunk hitters is because they don't have to worry about stepping in the box and getting hit themselves.
In the American League, Roger Clemens would throw at hitters regularly. In the National League with the Astros, he risked getting drilled himself his next plate appearance if he threw at opposing hitters.
In the AL now, players like Teixeira are getting hit as a result of a pitcher on his team (in this case previous teammates) hitting an opponent with intent.
Some plunkings are deserved. If Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Alfonso Soriano got hit in the elbow with a pitch, it's probably a strike because their hands are basically in the strike zone and over the plate before they swing.
It's the umpire's discretion to award a batter first base for getting hit. He doesn't have to—if the pitch is a strike, or if in his judgment the hitter didn't make an effort to move out of the way. It's happened before, but not in my lifetime.
But getting back to Padilla, who's been known to throw at guys for several years—he should have to face the music.
Every time a pitcher hits a batter—intentional or not—the next time through the order he has to hit.
An example: If Padilla hit Teixeira in the third inning, the next time the DH came up for the Rangers, Padilla would have to get in the box with a bat and face live pitching. The following time through the order, the DH would hit again, unless Padilla plunked someone else.
Also, if there was intent in throwing at someone, like A.J. Burnett did a few innings later, A.J. would have to face the music too.
The only way they'd get out of it is to have a pinch hitter, and that pitcher's out of the game—just like the NL.