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D-backs GM Kevin Towers wants his pitchers to hit more batters — and it sounds like that’s why he fired his pitching coach

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said in a radio interview on Tuesday that his pitchers didn't hit enough opposing batters this season in retaliation. He said next year it's going to be an "eye for an eye." And he made it sound like the hit-batsmen issue is one of the reasons pitching coach Charles Nagy was fired.

Towers appeared on the Burns and Gambo show on Arizona Sports 620 and talked about those issues, as well as how he would have fired a carton of baseballs at the Los Angeles Dodgers in one late-season meeting.

All right then.

The D-backs sought to toughen up their organization last season, becoming known as the "gritty" team, from manager Kirk Gibson on down. Not tough enough, it sounds like. Here's one of Towers' choice quotes, via ArizonaSports.com:

"You'd think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently," he said. "Probably a week later Goldy [Paul Goldschmidt] gets dinged, and no retaliation. It's like 'wait a minute' ... Not that I don't take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy's getting hit, it's an eye for an eye, somebody's going down or somebody's going to get jackknifed."

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(USA Today)

Then Towers made it known that D-backs pitchers will be expected to protect their teammates, and if they don't like that, they can go play somewhere else. Of course, that makes Arizona's trade of Ian Kennedy strange — because he was third in MLB this season with HBPs and at the center of a protect-your-own scuffle. Furthermore, as Rob Neyer observes, the D-backs hit 60 batters last season, but their batters were only hit 43 times. But yeah, an eye for an eye, let's go with that.

"I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it's going to be an eye for an eye and we're going to protect one another. If not, if you have options there's ways to get you out of here and you don't follow suit or you don't feel comfortable doing it, you probably don't belong in a Diamondbacks uniform."

This apparently went for Nagy too, who was fired on Tuesday after three years as pitching coach. After reporting the change, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweeted this from Towers:

And about those Dodgers — it wasn't the pool celebration that had Towers fuming in his interview. It was a different game, one in Los Angeles, when Juan Uribe hit three homers and Yasiel Puig was feeding him bananas in the Dodger dugout.

"I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag," Towers said. "Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate. That's not who we are as Diamondbacks, that's not how -- I mean, it's a reflection on Gibby, on myself, on our entire organization. They slapped us around and we took it."

There's good news here, though, guys. I think we've found the perfect new team for free agent and baseball's resident rule enforcer Brian McCann. He'll fit right in.

The postseason is upon us. Spend it with The Stew.
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