ST. PETERSBURG — Veteran centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier said his Rays mates had good reason to be upset with the Yankees for hitting Joey Wendle in the helmet and Austin Meadows on the shoulder during the weekend series.
Kiermaier said the Rays had hoped to move on from past issues with the Yankees, but it was obvious from their first series of the season that wasn’t the case.
“With the history and, I don’t know, it’s frustrating,” Kiermaier said Monday. “It’s very frustrating. We’ll see where it goes from here. But I don’t think that was a very good look on their part, and we have every right to be very frustrated about what happened throughout the weekend.”
In the three games, Yankees pitchers hit the Rays four times. In addition to Wendle and Meadows, Mike Zunino was plunked in the opener, and Meadows was hit a second time (on the hand) on Sunday.
Kiemaier, currently on the injured list, said he he didn’t think the Yankees threw at the Rays with “intent,” but it was still wrong.
“That can’t happen,” he said. “There’s just certain things that just can’t happen. You can’t hit a guy in the helmet. Then the next night, guy gets hit in the shoulder — if he doesn’t move, probably would’ve hit him in the neck/ head area. And then he gets hit in the wrist. A very impactful player on our team.
“You can sit here and think about what if this would have been flip-flopped. It would have been a lot more controversy. I truly believe that. We were mad. We voiced our opinions. There was a lot of barking from the dugout going on, rightfully so.”
Kiermaier noted the Rays didn’t retaliate, that they just want to play “good clean baseball” and move on.
“But these things continue to still happen,” he said. “Whatever. We’ll see where it goes from here. But I’ll end it like this — we just, we want to play. We don’t have any problems with any other team.
“We were hoping we could turn the page going into this year, and obviously the same things happen. Just bad timing on their part. And some very not so safe areas where to hit guys, day after day after day.”
The teams play again this weekend in New York.
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