NEW YORK — No active senior has hit more pitches than Anthony Rizzo, whose career tally of 205 has made him well aware of the intense feelings that can accompany those bumps, scrapes and bruises.
But as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. looked on as he stared at rookie Greg Weser during the Yankees’ 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday, the opening act of what will be another heated rivalry season between MLS East opponents, Rizzo delivered a message: “You just have to Walk to first base.”
“He kept staring at Greg, and he stared at him, and I objected to that,” Rizzo said. “He’s not trying to hit him there. We’re not trying to hit him. Just play baseball. I’ve been hit so many times in this game. Very rarely have I ever stared at someone when I know full well it’s not intended at all.”
A Weissert touchdown off Guerrero occurred in the ninth inning with the game seemingly set, a sinking 92.9 mph first pitch that hit Butcher’s left elbow.
Guerrero, who had hosted earlier in the contest, threw down his bat and looked at Weissert; Seemingly unaware that Guerrero was focusing on him, Weissert received a fresh ball and turned his attention towards midfield.
“I don’t really know what he was thinking, but apparently I wasn’t trying to hit him,” said Weissert. “I didn’t have the best of me tonight.”
Rizzo came to his teammate’s defense, and caught Guerrero’s attention along the first base line. The match referee Adrian Johnson came on the field between Rizzo and Guerrero, and although both managers appeared briefly on the field and opened the bowling gates, the situation did not escalate.
“Much Ado About Nothing,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider echoed similar thoughts, saying he thought Weissert was up.
Schneider said, “His sinker moves like crazy. It’s cold. I just think any hitter who gets hit isn’t cheery. Nothing. He’s got a bad sinker that goes with a bad slider. He probably just got away from it.”
There have been tense exchanges between the Yankees and Blue Jays in recent seasons. The situation is reminiscent of the incident last August 21 when Toronto player Alec Manuah hit Aaron Judge with a pitch, sending jaws soaring from the Yankees bench – especially Gerrit Cole, who pointed at the mound.
Manoah would later say that if Cole “wanted to do something, he could walk past an Audi sign”. [sprayed on the grass] Next time.” By coincidence, Cole and Manoah are set to start opposite each other on Saturday.
“They’re playing their game, we’re playing ours,” said Rizzo. “They are a good team, we are a good team. I think, naturally, the intensity is always high.”
Weissert appreciated Rizzo’s offer, saying, “I think that speaks to the kind of guys we have in this dressing room. Everyone has each other’s back, and I’m grateful for that.”
The late fireworks added some spice to another sleepy affair for the home team. Oswaldo Cabrera hit his first home run of the season to shortstop in right field, but the Bombers’ bat was kept silent by Yusei Kikuchi and three relievers.
“We had a couple chances there, but we just couldn’t muster a lot,” Boone said. “I believed [Kikuchi] He did a very good job of mixing.”
Guerrero—who reiterated before Friday’s game that he enjoyed playing against the Yankees and would never consider wearing pinstripes—provided the necessary margin of victory in the first inning, hitting Domingo German’s hanging turnoff ball on a two-run homer.
“After that, I became more consistent and was able to mechanically make some adjustments that allowed me to dig deeper into the game,” Germain said through a translator. “I definitely felt more consistent executing presentations after the first half.”
Germain settled down, retiring 12 Blue Jays in a row by one stretch, but surrendered a two-run homer to Brandon Belt in the sixth. Albert Abreu allowed Pelt’s two-out double in the eighth inning, and it was nearly caught by the judge.
“We’re kind of grinding right now,” Boone said. “We do a lot of winning things in attack. We have a tough game tomorrow and hopefully we can get out a little bit again.”
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