The San Diego Padres president and CEO said Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke intentionally threw at Carlos Quentin and that he should not have lowered his shoulder when Quentin charged the mound, precipitating a brawl last week that left Greinke with a broken collarbone that will sideline him for two months.
In a 4-minute, 29-second clip of a recent talk with Padres season-ticket holders obtained by Yahoo! Sports, Tom Garfinkel outlined the festering history between Greinke and Quentin and concluded the fastball that hit Quentin's arm was deliberate despite Greinke's claims otherwise.
"He threw at him on purpose, OK?" Garfinkel told an estimated crowd of 40 or 50 at Petco Park on Friday, a day after the fight. "That's what happened. They can say 3-and-2 count, 2-1 game, no one does that. Zack Greinke is a different kind of guy. Anyone seen 'Rain Man'? He's a very smart guy."
Garfinkel went on to reference Greinke's social-anxiety disorder, a comment he told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night he deeply regretted. Garfinkel apologized Wednesday to Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten and extended the same to Greinke.
"I was emotional the day after the game and regrettably, while defending our player, I said some things I shouldn't have, especially as it relates to Zack Greinke," Garfinkel told Yahoo! Sports. "I was out of line and I apologize.
"Obviously, I don't condone fighting and I wish it wouldn't have happened. You never want to see any player get hurt."
[Related: Matt Kemp's slump eats at him]
Quentin, the Padres' left fielder and cleanup hitter who has been hit by pitches 116 times in his career, was suspended for eight games after bull-rushing Greinke, on whom he has 45 pounds. Quentin never before had charged the mound. He began serving his suspension on Sunday after dropping an appeal.
"I don't know about you guys, but I'm 6-3, 225," Garfinkel told the ticket holders. "If Carlos Quentin was running at me, I would not put my shoulder down."
Following the game, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp approached Quentin in the Petco Park tunnel, and security and teammates separated the two before their face-to-face confrontation escalated into a fight.
The Padres wrapped up a three-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. They next play at Dodger Stadium from June 3-5.
Garfinkel's certainty about the purpose of the pitch stemmed from information he received about Greinke's predilection to avoid pitching inside as well as the belief in the Padres' front office that the count and situation didn't necessarily absolve him from intentionally hitting Quentin. Garfinkel told the crowd he saw a heat map, which highlights the locations a pitcher has targeted in the past, and that it showed over the last three years Greinke had not thrown a single pitch on a 3-2 count to right-handed hitters on the inner half of the plate.
The heat map was misleading. PITCHf/x data provided by Baseball Prospectus' Dan Brooks and Harry Pavlidis shows of the 219 full-count pitches Greinke threw to right-handers from 2010-2012, 81 were on the inner half of the plate. While the 37 percent inside rate is among the bottom one-third among starting pitchers, the data shows, Greinke is nowhere near the unlikeliest to throw there on full counts – and had gone there plenty of times, both in and out of the strike zone, in recent years.
Greinke also knew the potential consequences of hitting Quentin, Garfinkel told the crowd. A threat for retribution had been relayed to him following the second time he plunked Quentin with a pitch, in 2009.
"When Zack Greinke threw at his head a couple times, [Quentin] let it be known through teammates and intermediaries and others that if he does that again, he's going to have a problem," Garfinkel said. "This was a couple years ago. So Zack was very aware of that and Zack never apologized and never told him, 'Hey, I didn't mean to throw at you. It got away from me.' Whatever. This was a couple years ago. He knew darn well that was going [to happen]."
Following the brawl and his ejection, Quentin insinuated that Greinke had said something to him, prompting him to charge the mound, and that it "was the final straw." Garfinkel said neither he nor Quentin is certain of what Greinke said, and that even some people in the Padres' baseball-operations department who can read lips were unsure.
"We don't know what he said," Garfinkel said. "I asked Carlos. He doesn't know what he said. I do know that, I mean, everybody saw the tape. Everybody saw what happened. He didn't say, 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hit you.' He threw his glove down, stuck his chest out."
Doctors inserted a rod to stabilize the left clavicle of Greinke, who signed a six-year, $147 million deal with the Dodgers this offseason. While most in the game condemned Quentin for having a short temper and allowing Greinke to get in his head, some echoed one of Garfinkel's points: Command is Greinke's hallmark, and with catcher A.J. Ellis set up for an outside pitch, there is no way he missed his spot by that much unintentionally.
"This is my opinion, and I can't say it publicly," Garfinkel told the crowd, "but I guess this is public, so please don't tweet it out. We're in the trust tree here, in the nest.
"He hit him on purpose. That's what I believe."
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- Zack Greinke
- Carlos Quentin
- Tom Garfinkel