Dusty Baker defends Johnny Cueto

Updated: May 28, 2013, 12:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker says he doesn't understand why Cubs pitcher Matt Garza was incensed by Johnny Cueto's pitch high over David DeJesus' head and suggested the two pitchers should settle the dispute with their fists.

Baker Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with. I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it's over with. I'm serious about that.

-- Dusty Baker

Baker said Monday that the Cincinnati ace "couldn't have hit Wilt Chamberlain with that pitch." Both dugouts were warned after the play in the sixth inning Sunday of the Cubs' 5-4, 10-inning win. An angry Garza called Cueto "immature" after the game.

"If he wants to say something to me, he knows where my locker is. If he's got a problem, he can throw at me, and I'll do the same," Garza said Sunday. "Hopefully, he grows ... up. I hope he hears this. I really don't care. I don't know if there's anything between him and [DeJesus], but I'll stop it. I don't think you intentionally try to injure somebody. I hope the league looks at it. I don't want him suspended or anything. I hope his players talk to him and show him the way it is."

Baker said he hasn't talked to Cueto about the incident and then recalled to reporters how spats like this were handled much differently in the past.

"Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with. I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it's over with. I'm serious about that," he told reporters.

"I'll bet on Garza because he's on my team," said Alfonso Soriano. "I hope Dusty will want to bet with me. I bet a couple hundred on Garza."

"That's not the way to do it either," DeJesus said in response to Baker's comments. "That won't prove anything. It is what it is now, hopefully it's over with and let's just move on because it's not worth putting any more oil (gasoline) on the fire."

Cueto was not at his cubicle in the Reds clubhouse before their game Monday against Cleveland.

Baker questions whether Garza would have been as upset had he pitched better than his four-inning, four-run outing.

"Would he have been as upset if he got the win instead of potentially getting the loss. If you've got something to say, you go over and tell them," Baker told reporters. "Johnny ain't running. That guy can say what he wants to say, but he can say it to his face."

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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