Mark Teixeira has no love lost for ‘cheap’ Vicente Padilla but all the respect for Red Sox
|07.07.12 at 1:10 am ET|
Mark Teixeira connected for what proved to be the game-winning two-run triple in a four-run seventh Friday night in New York’s 10-8 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Afterward, he took an even bigger swing at the man who threw the pitch, Red Sox reliever Vicente Padilla, a hurler who has a reputation throughout baseball of throwing at batters.
“Game-winning hits always feel good. But that one definitely felt real good,” Teixeira said. “I was making some jokes. I have to kind of get in line. He doesn’t have a lot of friends in the game but it was just a big win against an archrival. First game of a long series and we know it’s going to be a very tough series so it’s good to get this first one.
“He’s not going to want to mess around with this at-bat. Almost every at-bat he tries to throw at your head or tries to throw behind you or something screwy. But with first and second and the game on the line, he’s not going to do it then so I could actually dig in and look for a good pitch to hit.”
[Click here to listen to Mark Teixeira rip into Vicente Padilla.]
Teixeira and Padilla were teammates on the Rangers in 2006 and half of 2007 before Teixeira was traded to the Braves. Teixeira asked Padilla to stop hitting batters since he was constantly getting plunked in retaliation. Padilla refused. On Friday, Andrew Miller put two runners on in the seventh before striking out Robinson Cano. Bobby Valentine then pulled a surprise and had Padilla face Teixeira.
“I didn’t really even notice because I was worried about Miller throwing 97,” Teixeira said. “This guy is a big lefty, throwing 97, just struck out Cano. I wasn’t even thinking they were going to bring in somebody else so I was kind of getting in my right-handed mode to think about how I was going to hit against Miller. I was very surprised they brought in Padilla.”
Teixeira was very confident that he was not in physical danger in the situaiton that faced him in the seventh, with the Red Sox leading, 7-6. Padilla had allowed just one inherited runner to score all season and had a career-best 13-game scoreless streak on the line. Padilla allowed two of the four runs in New York’s seventh inning, his first two runs since May 23 at Baltimore.
“100 percent [safe], 100 percent, and he’s been pitching really well, too, so I didn’t think he would be messing around there,” Teixeira said. “It was definitely one of those at-bats where I knew I was going to get a pitch to hit.
“No one on and they have a three-run lead, yeah, I’m probably thinking he’s going to try and mess around and do what he does,” Teixeira said. “But in that situation I don’t think he’s trying to put any more players on. The game’s on the line there.
“The guy throws at people, fact of the matter. I’m not saying anything that’s news. It is what it is. I’ve always been someone who wants to play the game the right way. You play hard, you don’t play cheap. I’ve always just lived that way, too. Some guys decide to take matters into their own hands. In the NFL, he’d probably be suspended by Roger Goodell eight games, or a whole season but this is baseball.
“There’s only one guy in baseball. No one else does this,” Teixeira said. “That’s the thing that’s unbelievable to me. No one else in baseball does this. Whether he’s changed his ways, I hope he does, and that’s great, because he’s a good pitcher. The guy’s got really good stuff and it’d be nice to talk to him as a baseball player, not someone who throws at people.”
But his animosity toward Padilla didn’t keep Teixeira from showering the rest of the Red Sox with praise.
“It’s a little different but they still have some big names,” Teixeira said of the injury-riddled Red Sox. “I’ve never seen David Ortiz so locked in. They still have Adrian Gonzalez. You still have some good players over there. And the guys they brought in to replace the [disabled] players, they stepped up today with some big hits. It doesn’t matter who’s over there. They still have the “Red Sox” on their chest and they’re going to play hard.”
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