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NORTH SCOTTSDALE -- Spring training games are generally low-key affairs. They aren’t supposed to lead to bad relations. But there were some upset managers at Monday afternoon’s Diamondbacks-Red game. And that was before the game even started.
The issue? The designated hitter. Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker wanted to use the DH in the game. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson did not. Whether the DH is used during a spring training game is up to the home team to decide and Gibson decided he didn’t want to use it. One reason is that Arizona’s starting pitcher, Brandon McCarthy, hasn’t had a major league at-bat in four years and needs to get some experience in the box, especially given that he was hit by a line drive last season.
The Diamondbacks informed the Reds of that decision before the game so Gibson was surprised -- and irritated -- when the Reds lineup card had a DH that Cincinnati would not be allowed to use. Thus, when the two managers exchanged lineup cards at home plate before the game, they also exchanged some heated words.
“It’s up to the home team what they want to do but usually here we let teams DH early (in spring training),” Baker said. “That’s the way it is. We didn’t have a very pleasant encounter at home plate. That’s how it goes. It’s over.”
“It was good locker room talk,” Gibson told reporters. “They knew we were going to do it that way. I wanted to play a National League game They just wanted to do it their way. We play by the rules here.”