Bowling Ball-Gate continues.
The Giants’ Barry Zito and the Brewers’ Prince Fielder exchanged words after Zito issued a first-inning walk to the slugger in the first inning of Monday’s 10-9 Giants win over the Brew Crew.
A frustrating Zito issued a four-pitch walk to Fielder. After the first pitch, the lefty asked home plate umpire Stephen Barga where the pitch was.
Fielder barked at Zito and was still talking when he got to first base, and another umpire stepped in between the two players.
“Prince was letting me know that it was a ball,” Zito explained.
When pressed further, each player offered different explanations.
“Yeah, we talked a little bit,” Zito said. “Caught up. Asked him how his offseason was. Family’s good. No new tattoos.”
Fielder remarked: “I like Barry. I really do. (Mutual agent Scott Boras) called and we have dinner tonight. I asked (Zito) which one we were going to. I said Houston’s. He thought Fleming’s.”
And then Fielder let out a big chuckle.
The back story on this event dates back to September 2009 when Fielder, celebrating a game-winning home run against the Giants, jumped on home plate and his teammates fell backwards as if knocked over by a bowling ball.
The Giants didn’t appreciate the stunt. So the following spring in the two teams’ first spring meeting, Zito hit Fielder square in the back with his first pitch.
MoreSplashHits had no issues with Zito’s message pitch last spring. At least THAT pitch went were Zito intended.
The same could not be said for Monday’s outing.
Zito walked five of the 13 batters he faced. After loading the bases in the first, Zito worked out of the inning by inducing a pair of popups. He gave up two runs in the second, and was removed after walking Fielder a second time to force in the second run.
“I’m just working on timing,” Zito said. “I had some where it clicked and some where the timing was off a little bit.”
But there was good news — apart from the victory — for the Giants on Monday.
MARK DEROSA: Starting again at 2B, DeRosa continues to swing the bat well. He went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, including his first spring training home run.
BRANDON BELT: Belt made his first spring start and began to make his case to make the big league club. Belt went 3 for 5 with 2 runs, two doubles and 4 RBI. However, manager Bruce Bochy reiterated that the plan is for Belt to start the season at Triple-A unless injury and an incredibly impressive spring by Belt make the Giants rethink that.
TRAVIS ISHIKAWA: Ishikawa made his first start in left field, as the Giants tried to improve his versatility on the team. He wetn 2 for 3 with a double and run scored. “It was a lot fun. I hope I get more chances out there,” he said afterwards.
JEFF SUPPAN: Batting for a roster spot, Suppan got off to a good start, throwing three scoreless and hitless innings.