After tirade, Fielder wants to move on
LOS ANGELES -- While Prince Fielder took batting practice at Dodger Stadium before Wednesday night's game, no fewer than nine stern-faced members of the ballpark's security staff maintained a vigilant presence outside the Milwaukee Brewers' clubhouse.
They were on heightened alert to prevent any recurrence of what took place the night before, when the burly slugger stormed across the hall after the Brewers' 17-4 loss and attempted to force his way into the Dodgers locker room to confront reliever Guillermo Mota.
"I think Prince's actions certainly were inappropriate and regrettable, and they will be dealt with appropriately by Major League Baseball," Brewers manager Ken Macha said.
As was the case on Tuesday night, Fielder -- who played with Mota in Milwaukee last season -- didn't offer any insight as to why he reacted so violently.
"I don't remember that. I'm just trying to play baseball and win tonight's game," the All-Star first baseman said. "I think he was just trying to come inside and it got away from him. He was trying to hit his spot. I wish he hit his spot, but it just missed. All that other stuff is out of my control. ... He's not on my team now, so we're not teammates. ... I'm not too worried about (bad) blood."
Ballpark security was taking no chances. Usually, there's only one guard outside each clubhouse before games. On the extra presence, Fielder said: "This is L.A. You want to be safe."
Macha spent almost an hour on the phone with Bob Watson, baseball's enforcer of discipline, and Mike Port, in charge of the umpiring crews. Macha insisted reporting of the incident was overblown.
"What I watched on television, I think it's totally misrepresented -- some of the terminology they used. They used words that made it sound like he was somebody was going to kill somebody," Macha said.
"You're focused on the wrong thing. If their pitcher doesn't intentionally hit him, none of this happens. But they are portraying Prince as the bad guy. He's not the bad guy. People pitch inside for two reasons: No. 1, to get the outside part of the plate, and No. 2, to injure someone. Our guy was trying to get the outside part of the plate. Their guy was trying to injure someone."
Fielder heard loud boos when came to plate for the first time Wednesday night.
Mota, who served a 50-game suspension in 2007 with the New York Mets after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, also got the day off from manager Joe Torre after facing eight batters and throwing 38 pitches Tuesday night.
As for Prince's behavior, Torre said: "There's a lot of passion in this game. But I'm a little surprised and disappointed that this is taking all the attention away from everything else. I think we're making more of it than it is. Can we get on to another subject -- which means around three-quarters of the people here will be gone?"
Prince, this year's All-Star home run derby champion, has been hit by eight pitches this season and 46 during his five-year big league career.
"I'll say this about Prince: He does not get intimidated," Macha said. "So if you throw it inside, he's still going to cover the outside part of the plate. So you can throw it in all you want and hit him as many times as you want. But that outside part of the plate, he's still going to cover. That's just who he is."
This was not the first time an angry player went looking for Mota.
During a spring training game in 2003, New York Mets star Mike Piazza was hit by a pitch from Mota -- then with the Dodgers -- and rushed the mound, setting off a wild brawl. Later, Piazza barged into the Los Angeles locker room looking for Mota, but the reliever was gone.
Piazza and Mota each served four-game suspensions and were fined.
As for Fielder, no word yet if he will penalized.
"He got hit and he didn't like it. But for him to be acting like that is not professional," Dodgers first base coach Mariano Duncan said. "Something has to be done about that incident last night, with Prince trying to go into our clubhouse and try to fight. That could have been very ugly. So it's up to the commissioner's office to decide what he's going to do."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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