CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber and Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair disagreed Friday whether Humber intended to throw at LaHair in retaliation for White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko being hit by a pitch.
Konerko was hit in the head by a splitter from Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija in the top of the third inning. Konerko suffered a small laceration above his eye and swelling and was taken to the hospital for testing. He did not return to the game.
After pitching to Samardzija and three other Cubs hitters in the bottom of the third, Humber’s first pitch to LaHair in the bottom of the fourth, a high fastball, soared behind LaHair’s head. The pitch resulted in home plate umpire Tim Timmons issuing warnings to both dugouts.
“That just got away from me,” Humber said. “It’s one of those things that happens during the game.”
LaHair didn’t see the pitch the same way.
“Definitely felt like it was intentional,” LaHair said. “They waited a whole inning and then the first pitch was right at my head. I'm all right with getting hit and stuff like that, I understand, but when you start getting around people's heads that can be scary. It is what it is. Nothing happened. I didn't get hurt or anything so move on from it.
“Any time a player like Konerko gets hit, it doesn't matter where he gets hit there's always going to be some kind of retaliation it seemed like. Like I said, hit me, just don't hit me in the head, you know?"
Cubs manager Dave Sveum also believed Humber knew what he was doing.
“You're not really expecting any retaliation when somebody gets hit by a split-finger fastball,” Sveum said. “We're obviously not trying to hit Paul with a kind of pitch like that.
“But if there's retaliation you sure would appreciate if the guy throws a little lower than he did. But unfortunately he didn't. But those are incidents that happen in baseball sometimes. I hope Paul's all right because he's a friend of mine. I play golf with him and spent some time with him before. Hopefully, it's no big deal.”
White Sox manager Robin Venture stood behind his pitcher and also denied Humber was throwing at LaHair.
“If we wanted to do anything, we would have hit (Samardzija),” Ventura said. “That’s just baseball. You just keep going.”