Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Buck Farmer strongly denied he intentionally hit home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott with a pitch during Detroit's 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old right-hander said after the game it was "appalling" anybody could believe he worked in coordination with catcher John Hicks to strike Wolcott.
"The fact that's even a question is appalling," Farmer told reporters. "It shouldn't be a question. When you look at the situation, it's stupid to even think about. It shouldn't even be a thought from anybody that Hicks and I would do that."
Wolcott was hit in the shoulder by a pitch from Farmer during the third inning. The incident drew attention because it came shortly after the umpire ejected Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and starting catcher James McCann for arguing balls and strikes.
Hicks, who replaced McCann behind the plate, said there was no intent despite the timing.
"Obviously, it looked bad right after Brad and [McCann] got tossed," he told reporters. "But it's bases loaded, and we're trying to win a baseball game. Any thought of us trying to do that on purpose is just ridiculous."
Farmer also posted a message on social media about the situation:
Buck Farmer @B_Farm09
Hate that people think I would hit the umpire intentionally... I have more respect for the game than that #notthattypeofplayer2017-9-13 20:18:59
Meanwhile, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press noted Ausmus took a strong stance against any suggestion the wild pitch was a purposeful act.
"To imply that was intentional is, first of all, a lie," the manager said. "If any player intentionally tried to hurt an umpire on this team, we'd deal with it severely. For anyone to imply it was intentional is completely wrong. They are out of line in saying that, quite frankly."
Farmer allowed four hits, three walks and four earned runs across four innings of work. He struck out seven as his record fell to 4-3 for the season.
The Indians' eventual victory marked their 21st consecutive win, setting a new American League record.