Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte spoke to the media Thursday after rookie Ronald Acuna was hit by a pitch by the Marlins’ Jose Urena and forced to leave Wednesday’s game.
Here is a transcript of some of the interview:
Q. What was your reaction when you found out the injury to Ronald Acuna was not as bad as it could have been?
A. I’m happy, as everyone is. I texted him after the game and this morning again to check that he was OK. First thing he said was “I’m ready to go.” I said I don’t make the lineup. You have to tell that to the manager. He said “Give me his phone number. I need to tell him.” Right away, I told him what to say. He’s excited. He feels good. He is ready play. Hopefully, he is going to continue to help us.”
Q. You were the first guy out there (after Acuna got hit). What was your first thought when you saw it happen?
A. I don’t know if I was expecting it but I was in the video room when that happened. I probably took two jumps on the stairs and I just went straight out. I couldn’t think straight. I was really mad he got it. … I didn’t think he missed the spot. I thought he was trying to do it. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. I don’t know. First thing that came to my mind was to go out there and step up for my teammate. Either if it’s Ronald or anybody else, I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone here. You’ve seen it before and it’s frustrating. Last year, Freddie (Freeman) got hit. It was frustrating for the whole team. The way he is playing, I feel like he is respecting the game. You don’t want to see anyone hit for any reason.
Q. There is a small segment of people who actually defended Acuna getting hit. They say you have to understand, he hit all those home runs. You have to throw at him. You have to knock him down. What is your response to these unwritten rules of the game?
A. I don’t think it should be like that. One thing is doing good and disrespecting the other team. But he’s not. He’s playing the game right. He’s playing hard. He’s talented. What are you going to do, hit him his entire life? What else can you do? He’s been playing hard. He’s running the bases hard. He’s not staring at anybody. That’s why everybody got mad because we didn’t think that was the right thing to do. A lot of times, you might be watching the game and you might understand what happened. This time, I didn’t. Everybody was very upset.
Q. What was the reaction when you got our there from the Marlins players? I didn’t look like any of them were stepping up and defending him.
A. I don’t know what they were thinking. They didn’t seem like they wanted anything bad to happen. I talked to a couple of the guys. I told them that’s not the right way to play this game. They said they don’t disagree with you. They don’t want this stuff to happen in the game. There are 25 guys on the roster. Some guys think one way and others think different. At the end of the day, I don’t think that was the right call. If he made that decision by himself, he’s probably hearing a lot of stuff inside the clubhouse. I know a lot of the guys out there. They didn’t agree with what happened.
Q. Do you agree there is a big difference between throwing inside and trying to back a guy off the plate versus blatantly throwing at him?
A. Yes, especially the first pitch of the game. You don’t see a big miss like that the first pitch of the game.
Q. If you were the commissioner or head of discipline, what kind of penalty do you think he should get?
A. Well I’m not, so I haven’t thought about it.
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