MLB

White Sox manager La Russa insists Ohtani plunking 'was not intentional'

By Sports Desk September 16, 2021

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa insisted there was no intent after he and Mike Wright Jr were ejected after the reliever hit Shohei Ohtani with a wayward pitch.

The White Sox were beaten 9-3 by the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday and they were already trailing by that scoreline when the incident occurred at the top of the ninth inning.

Wright sent down to two consecutive errant pitches before a third, a 90.4 mph fastball, struck Ohtani on the calf.

The umpires convened and ejected Wright, before La Russa's protestations prompted him also to be tossed out of the game.

The incident came with context after White Sox trio Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu were by pitches in Tuesday's 9-3 win over the Angels in the first game of the series.

"It was not intentional. The reasoning did not make sense," La Russa said.

“[Second-base umpire Bill Welke] felt that there was stuff lying on that first game. It was all us getting hit. And he noticed all that, but they didn’t do anything.

"But he ruled that that was intentional, and he made a mistake."

He added: “I'm not gonna belabor this. It wasn’t intentional, he read it wrong, and it wasn’t consistent with the way that number one, they treated the three hit batsmen, and secondly, where was our retaliation? First the game yesterday, and today he made a mistake.

"It’s upsetting. It looks bad for our pitcher, our team, me. It disappoints me."

Angels manager Joe Maddon disagreed with La Russa, calling it "retaliatory".

"We had hit two hitters for them, inadvertently, so it was retaliatory," Maddon said. "We knew that."

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