Curt Schilling’s exhibition start against Pittsburgh was going just fine yesterday…until he dusted off the Pirates’ Chris Duffy.
For having the audacity to dig in against the noted Everquest enthusiast, Duffy has a concussion for his troubles. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Bob Rossi gathers the differing reactions.
After his outing, Schilling — a past winner of the Major League Baseball Roberto Clemente Award for humanitarian service outside the game — offered little remorse over hitting Duffy.
“Bottom line is that ball should not have hit him,” Schilling said. “You got to be able to get out of the way with that pitch.”
Schilling explained that the previous pitch he threw to Duffy, one in which he jammed Duffy inside, was sent as a message for the Pirates’ young lead-off hitter to back off home plate.
Schilling said that for the first time in his career he is working on throwing inside during spring training; in an exhibition game against Boston College earlier this spring, Schilling also hit a batter on the head. Boston’s ace added that Duffy should have known pitches would come inside after the first at-bat, during which Schilling said he twice threw inside.
Pirates manager Jim Tracy initially tried to downplay Schilling’s words but later appeared taken aback by them.
“I’ve never seen Curt Schilling go out and start a game with the intention of hurting people,” Tracy said. “But if you start hitting people in the head… you need to be very careful of that.”
“I think most hitters will tell you the same thing,” Schilling said. “If you’re not comfortable in the box, your body will get out of the way. That’s part of it; it’s just the way it goes. I’m not trying to hit anybody in the head.
“If I throw a ball at your head, you’re going to get out of the way — not at the last second, either. And if you’re conscious of that when you get in the box, you’re going to get out of the way a lot quicker. I threw some balls in today to (Duffy) early… I’m just trying to either get him out of the box or get him uncomfortable. And to do that you have to continue to pitch in.”
“He should get out of the way?” an incredulous Wilson said after Pittsburgh’s 10-7 win Saturday.
“Did you hear that? He said that he thought Duffy should have been able to get out of the way of the ball,” Wilson told third base coach Jeff Cox when informed of Schilling’s remarks. “I think he needs to stop throwing at people’s heads.”