Tagged: Prince Fielder

Zito, Fielder rekindle Bowling Ball-Gate

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.  


The Plunking of Prince

If nothing else, Giants pitcher Barry Zito added a little bit of drama to a spring training game by hitting Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder in the back with a pitch in an apparent retaliation for a choreographed home run celebration involving Fielder last season.

Last Sept. 6, Fielder hit a one-out, 12th-inning home run off Merkin Valdez to give the Brewers a 2-1 win over the Giants. As Fielder reached home plate, he jumped on the plate, causing his teammates to topple backwards as if they were bowling pins.

The planned celebration angered several Giants, and the payback came Thursday in Scottsdale.

With his first pitch to Fielder in the first inning Thursday, Zito hit Fielder square in the back.

“My fastball was running in, and it just got away from me,” Zito told the Associated Press.

Fielder appeared to let the plunking slide. Afterwards, he tossed the ball back in Zito’s direction and headed to first and clapped his hands.

“If that’s what they gotta do, let them hit me once, if it makes them feel better,” Fielder said.

OK, here’s Spash Hits take on this issue.

First, we’re glad the Giants took care of this in spring training, and not in the regular season.

Second, we expect that Fielder wasn’t too upset at the plunking because it was Zito throwing at him. If the Giants had announced that, say, Brian Wilson, would be starting on Thursday, Fielder may have a different opinion of the incident.

And finally, it’s six months later and Splash Hits is still upset about that game in Milwaukee. But it has nothing to do with Brewers’ celebration. Instead, we’re still upset with why Giants were pitching to Fielder with the bases empty and one out in the bottom of the 12th of a 1-1 game in the first place.