MLB

Nats GM: Hamels fake tough for hitting Harper

05/07 2:29 PM

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo called Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels "fake tough" for intentionally plunking Nationals rookie Bryce Harper and said he should be suspended, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo called Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels "fake tough" for intentionally plunking Nationals rookie Bryce Harper and said he should be suspended, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"I've never seen a more classless, gutless chicken (bleep) act in my 30 years in baseball," Rizzo said, according to the report. "With all the bounty (stuff) going on in professional football, the commissioner better act with a purpose on this thing."

Hamels' first pitch to the 19-year-old Harper, with two out in the bottom of the first inning, landed in the small of Harper's back. After the game, he matter-of-factly admitted that he hit Harper on purpose, claiming he was trying to bring back "old-school" baseball.

"I was trying to hit him," the Philadelphia left-hander said after the Phillies' 9-3 win. "I'm not going to deny it."

Major League Baseball rewarded Hamels' candor by suspending him Monday for five games.

"That's something I grew up watching, that's kind of what happened. So I'm just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it," Hamels said Sunday. "I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything because that's the way baseball is.

"But I think unfortunately the league's protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball."

Rizzo wasn't convinced or amused by Hamels' explanation, according to the Post. He was, however, equally candid.

"Cole Hamels says he's old school? He's the polar opposite of old school. He's fake tough," Rizzo said, according to the report. "He thinks he's going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who's eight games into the big leagues? He doesn't know who he's dealing with.

"He thinks he's sending a message to us of being a tough guy. He's sending the polar opposite message. He says he's being honest, well, I'm being honest. It was a gutless chicken (bleep-bleeping) act," Rizzo added, according to the report. "That was a fake-tough act. No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school."

"This goes beyond rivalry and all that stuff," Rizzo added. "This points to, you take the youngest guy in baseball. He's never done a thing. And then Hamels patted himself on the back. Harper's old school. Hitting him on the back, that ain't old school. That's (bleeping) chicken (bleep)."

Harper, who took first base without incident after being plunked, evened the score on the basepaths. He advanced to third on a single and stole home on a Hamels pick-off throw to first.

In the third inning, Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann hit Hamels in the left leg with one out and a runner on first when the Phillies pitcher squared to bunt. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher then warned both dugouts.

"I wish he'd been a little bit more, what do you call it, not so honest, or dishonest, or discreet, that might be the right word," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told WIP-AM in Philadelphia on Monday.

"What I saw was the next time up Hamels came up to bat they definitely retaliated, he got hit on the calf, and he could have got hurt," said Manuel, who added he hopes Hamels isn't suspended.

"I like to think it was dropped right there and the rest of it will be done baseball-wise," he added.

Manuel also said he thought Hamels was trying to pitch Harper inside -- and credited Harper for aggressive baserunning when he reached the basepaths.

"(Hamels) was trying to throw it up and in," Manuel told the station. "(Harper) got on and he ended up scoring, he did a good piece of baserunning. He showed a lot of guts. He kind of challenged him. I kind of took that as him sending a message to us."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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