Sometimes it’s okay to be drilled.
When you’re a hitter who as recently as July 24 was batting just .229 and slugging well south of .400, it can feel good to hold target-worthy status, justification be damned.
At least it did for Brandon Belt, who was by every indication hit intentionally by Padres lefty Clayton Richard on Sunday, in response for a Ryan Vogelsong pitch that ran into Carlos Quentin two innings earlier.
After the game, Belt was sporting a sizable welt above his hip, but he didn’t mind. “It’s kind of a compliment, I guess,” Belt, by that point having raised his average to .267, told the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s okay, it’s part of baseball sometimes.”
His picher didn’t agree.
“Go look at the video,” Vogelsong said in a San Francisco Chronicle report. “It was a two-seamer that ran off the plate. That guy hammers balls over the plate, then gets pissed when you throw the ball inside. It doesn’t make sense. Every time you hit a guy in this game, they think you did it on purpose. It’s tired.”
It’s worth noting that Quentin is tied for the league lead with 14 HBPs this year, led the American League last season with 23 for Chicago, and has collected 20 in two other seasons, so it shouldn’t have come as much of a shock.
Still, for some pitchers a hit teammate is a hit teammate, intention aside. The Giants and Padres next meet on September 20, in San Francisco.