By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: Caribbean-born Marlins pitcher, Jose Urena, was being criticized from all sides Thursday for his first pitch that hit Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuna Jr., Wednesday night. But Urena denies he hit the Venezuelan-born rookie on purpose.
“How would I do it on purpose? …. It was a mistake,” Urena, from the Dominican Republic, told Fox Sports after he and Braves manager Brian Snitker were both taken out the game Wednesday night following a scuffle that led to a bench-clearing scuffle.
The comment comes even as some urge MLB to suspend Urena.
The pitch that hit Acuna was clocked at 97.5 mph, the fastest pitch Urena has ever thrown to open a game, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Acuna, 20, was hit near his left elbow and remained on the ground a few minutes as players from both sides shouted at one another, pushing and shoving.
Order appeared to be restored until Acuna walked near the mound on his path to first base, took off a protective wrap and tossed it toward the mound. That led to players again spilling out of both dugouts and bullpens. No punches were thrown.
Acuna eventually was able to get up and walk down to first base to run the bases. But in the top of the second inning, Acuna, who had been flexing his left arm as he took his position in left field, signaled to the bench and came out of the game. There was no immediate word on his possible injury.
After the melee calmed down, the umpires huddled and then home plate umpire Chad Fairchild ejected Urena and warned both benches. That led to a protest from Marlins manager Don Mattingly.
Elieser Hernandez then replaced Urena who has a history of control problems.
Entering the game, he was tied for second in the National League with 10 hit batters.
Urena added that he was shocked by the Braves bench response, at how they got “crazy” and “started to attack people.”
Those “attacks” continued against Urena on Twitter with some calling him “weak,” ‘classless” and “shameful.”