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Friday, April 12, 2013
Quentin should be suspended for brawl

By David Schoenfield

Carlos Quentin needs a reality check. Does he really think Zack Greinke was trying to hit him with a 3-2 pitch leading off the sixth inning of a one-run game? Considering the aftermath of Quentin's actions -- Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone in the brawl -- the Padres outfielder should be fined and suspended for at least 15 games.

And I don't disagree all that much with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly: "That's just stupid is what it is. He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch. If he plays before Greinke pitches, something's wrong. He caused the whole thing. Nothing happens if he goes to first base."

Yes, Greinke apparently mouthed something as Quentin walked toward him. Shake it off, Carlos. It's not as though you haven't been hit before. Plus, you'd think a veteran in his eighth year in the majors would have a little more awareness of the game situation.

The two players apparently have a history; this is the third time Greinke has hit Quentin. But this is what Carlos Quentin does: He gets hit by pitches. He led the National League last season with 17 despite playing only 86 games. He led the American League the year before with 23 despite playing only 118 games. It's a skill to stand there and take it and Quentin has honed it to perfection.

Greinke has hit Quentin three times now. Nick Blackburn has hit him four times. Erik Bedard and Jon Lester have hit him three times. Eighteen others have hit him twice. Nobody tried to hit him with a one-run lead in the sixth inning.

One of the improvements baseball has made in the past 15 to 20 years or so is the elimination of the bench-clearing brawl, or at least the near-elimination. If you watched baseball in the '80s and early '90s, they were almost a weekly occurrence. (Davey Johnson's 1986 World Series champion Mets famously had multiple brawls that season.) As much fun as brawls can be for spectators, they aren't a good thing, paramount being the injury risk. Cal Ripken nearly had his consecutive games streak ended because of a brawl. And now the Dodgers will be without Greinke for a period of time. Too much money is invested in players to put them at risk because Quentin can't keep his head on straight.

And, yes, there are times when pitching a little too far inside is necessary; it is, and should remain, part of the game. Throwing at somebody's head is always uncalled for; but so is charging the mound in a situation such as this.

Depending on how long Greinke is out, it's obviously potentially a big blow to the Dodgers' playoff hopes. They do have rotation depth with Chris Capuano (12-12, 3.72 ERA last year) sitting in the pen, but Capuano isn't Greinke and he fell off after a big first half a season ago.

Padres-Dodgers games always have a little extra spice. I suspect the next 15 times they meet will be very interesting.