Benches clear after Yasiel Puig hit by pitch, Cubs reliever calls him ‘stupid as f---'

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Yasiel Puig does not take kindly to being hit with a pitch on purpose.

Trailing 5-0 in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds right fielder confronted reliever Pedro Strop after he was hit in the backside by a 94 mph fastball.

Puig was furious, slamming his helmet and tossing his bat, and he had to be held back by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras while slowly approaching the mound. Both benches and bullpens quickly cleared, although nothing came of the fracas beyond some light pushing.

Given the Cubs’ big lead and how far off the plate the pitch went on 3-0, there’s little doubting Strop’s intent. However, the Cubs’ reliever was defiant after the game, firing a salvo at Puig.

“I told him, 'Why are you talking? You have a chance to do whatever you need to do on the mound. Now you're just screaming,’” Strop said. “It's not a secret he's stupid. He's stupid as f---. I have nothing against him but he's stupid. There's no doubt about it."

Puig has already been suspended this year for a fight

Puig is well-known for his feud with San Francisco Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, but he’s liable to defend his teammates’ honor as well.

Just 10 games into his tenure with the Reds, Puig attempted to fight the entire Pittsburgh Pirates team when Chris Archer hit Derek Dietrich with a pitch for admiring a home run for too long. That earned Puig a two-game suspension.

Puig also faced a two-game suspension last August when he got in a shoving match at home plate with Giants catcher Nick Hundley.

Saturday’s confrontation was not as physical as ones in the past — and he certainly appears more justified. Still, Major League Baseball often punishes repeat offenders more harshly, and Puig recently aired his grievances with MLB’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre.

Reds right fielder Yasiel Puig was heated after Cubs reliever Pedro Strop hit him in the backside. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Reds right fielder Yasiel Puig was heated after Cubs reliever Pedro Strop hit him in the backside. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

More fireworks in the ninth inning

After Puig was hit by the pitch, home plate umpire Mark Wegner issued warnings to both benches, although he didn’t follow through on that threat in the ninth.

Cubs reliever Dillon Maples plunked pinch hitter José Peraza with two outs in the inning, and Reds manager David Bell was left incensed when Maples didn’t get the boot. Instead, Bell himself was ejected for arguing.

Now unlike in Strop’s case, Maples probably did not intend to hit a batter. Peraza had nothing to do with the initial incident, and it would be odd to hit him with a slider. Furthermore, Maples does not have the best control with 20 walks and 3 HBP in 17 1/3 career innings. Still, it gave quite the capper to an already unruly ending.

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