Baker, Gibson get testy over differences on DH

Published 1:08 am Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Dusty Baker and Kirk Gibson had a testy exchange — before a pitch was even thrown. The two managers had differing opinions on the designated hitter rule for Monday’s game.

Baker had Shin-Soo Choo set as his DH in the Reds’ original lineup because the outfielder had been out with a tight quadricpes. Gibson wanted Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy to get in some swings.

When the managers of NL ballclubs met at home plate, things got heated.

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“He wanted his pitcher to hit and I wanted Choo to DH,” Baker said after the Diamondbacks won 7-2. “We didn’t have a very pleasant encounter at home plate. It’s over.”

Perhaps in protest, Baker had Johnny Cueto leave his bat on his shoulder for three straight strikes when the starting pitcher came to bat in the third inning.

“I wasn’t allowed to swing,” Cueto said.

During spring training, the home team has final say on whether to apply the DH rule, only used in American League parks in the regular season.

“They knew we were going to do it that way,” Gibson said. “I had it happen that way with a team. They tried to put the DH in there. That’s not the way it’s done. I wanted to play a National League game. I notified them several times. They just wanted to do it their way. They couldn’t do it. They didn’t like that. We play by the rules here. If we were over there, we’d play by their rules. It’s very simple. It was good locker room talk.”

McCarthy, who played for Oakland in the AL last year, grounded out in his only at-bat.

In his second start, McCarthy pitched three innings and allowed a home run in the first inning to Zack Cozart. He struck out five.

“It was a pretty good extension of last time, where I felt command was good,” McCarthy said. “I was able to accomplish all the things I wanted to. The results are always nice. For a spring outing it was pretty solid.

Cueto went three innings in his second start for Cincinnati. He slipped in the first inning, causing concern for the Reds because he strained an oblique in the playoffs last season.

The right-hander was able to finish his outing without further problems, though.

Cueto was roughed up by the Diamondbacks in his first start last week. On Monday, he gave up an infield single to the leadoff hitter, Adam Eaton and walked the next batter, Cliff Pennington.

Cueto slipped trying to throw Eaton out at home on a slow roller to the first base side of the mound. The Reds trainer visited him but Cueto completed his three innings, striking out four.

“I feel pretty good,” Cueto said. “I had to concentrate on pitching my game after the first two batters. I was trying to cut the run off at home plate and I slipped. It’s not a problem.”

NOTES: The Diamondbacks scored four unearned runs on three Cincinnati errors. … The Reds Joey Votto announced that he would play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. … Choo pinch hit in the sixth inning and flied out. … Randy Johnson visited Salt River Fields for the first time. The former ace lives near the park and talked with Diamondback pitchers and Gibson before the game.