Benches clear in Dodgers’ victory over Padres
Reporting from Peoria, Ariz. — Pitching inside is something Jonathan Broxton admits he has avoided for most of his career.
“You miss just a little bit, the ball goes a long way,” Broxton said.
The Dodgers’ 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres introduced him to another potential consequence, as his fifth-inning plunking of Ryan Ludwick started a sequence that ended with both benches clearing.
“Mine wasn’t on purpose,” Broxton said.
No matter. The Padres retaliated in the top of the sixth inning, as Brad Brach drilled Rafael Furcal in the back.
Furcal ended the inning when he was caught stealing second base by Padres catcher Nick Hundley, who made a celebratory gesture and stared into the Dodgers’ dugout.
Rod Barajas shouted at him.
“I take offense to it when you start looking at my dugout and start chirping in my direction,” Barajas said. “This isn’t basketball, football, where people talk trash.”
On his way back to the dugout Ludwick stopped near the plate and added to the soundtrack. Barajas and Andre Ethier approached him.
The benches cleared. The bullpens emptied.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly walked onto the field and talked to his Padres counterpart, Bud Black, who reminded him that Broxton hit Orlando Cabrera earlier in the month.
Broxton said that although the pitch to Ludwick was not supposed to be inside, he has made an effort this spring to use that side of the plate more.
“You come in late in the game, you don’t want to miss inside,” he said. “Late in the game, you want the other team to beat you away.”
But, Broxton conceded, “you can’t always live on the outer part of the plate.”
Asked if he thought opposing hitters took for granted that he would not pitch inside and cheated toward the outside when facing him, Broxton replied: “If I were a hitter, I would have.”
Broxton said that when he did pitch inside in the past, he would not do that for more than a pitch per at bat.
“Now, I want to get to where I can go back there a couple of times,” he said.
Pardon the interruption
Padres ace Mat Latos was signing autographs outside of the stadium when a fan alerted him that the benches had cleared. Latos immediately ran onto the field to join the fracas. He later returned and resumed signing autographs.
“Teammates first,” he told the fans. “I apologize.”
In his last start before his opening-day assignment, Clayton Kershaw struck out three and walked none over 31/3 scoreless and hitless innings.
Kershaw said he has started to look ahead to facing the San Francisco Giants on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
But he said he is not thinking about his matchup with Tim Lincecum and only has the Giants’ lineup on his mind.
Of Lincecum, Kershaw said, “All I know is he bats left-handed.”
Owner Frank McCourt visited Camelback Ranch for the first time this spring but did not make himself available to reporters. McCourt has yet to address the latest series of reports about his financial and legal problems that could threaten the future of the Dodgers. … Fifth-starter candidate Tim Redding played catch and said he did not feel the pain in his back that forced him out of a game the previous day. Redding said he plans to throw a bullpen session Sunday as scheduled. … The original fifth starter, Jon Garland, who has been sidelined since March 9 because of a side muscle strain, threw off a mound without pain.
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