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Cubs reaction to Hedges play leaves me cold

Collision doesn't get any cleaner, no matter how many times you replay it
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Truth is, had Anthony Rizzo slid straight for the plate Monday night at Wrigley Field, he might have scored.

View Full Game Coverage

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Truth is, had Anthony Rizzo slid straight for the plate Monday night at Wrigley Field, he might have scored.

View Full Game Coverage

But he didn't.

No matter how manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs try to paint it, Rizzo had veered far from the direct path to the plate to slam into a defenseless Austin Hedges.

I've watched the replay a dozen times. If Maddon "loved it," there's something wrong with that. No matter what he might have felt about the legality of the play, what about making your first comment about that collision something like "that's unfortunate, I hope Hedges isn't seriously hurt."

"Loved it."

That speaks volumes.

It wasn't just this play. There were flaws in the Cubs' defensive armor long before this.

Truth is, unfortunate plays happen in all sports.

I met Anthony Rizzo years ago when he was in the Padres' system. I found him to be a young man of substance and quality. A cancer survivor, Rizzo went out of his way to help others.

I think he made a mistake in judgement Monday. It was, in my mind, a dirty play. But that doesn't make Rizzo a bad person or a dirty player. In the heat of the action, he made a bad decision to run into Hedges. In looking at his facial expressions in the immediate aftermath, I think he realized it.

But the Cubs celebrated the collision. "Loved it." Sorry, that's just wrong to think when someone gets hurt ... particularly when the victim was in a totally defenseless and vulnerable position.

Just think about the outrage if that was the Cubs' catcher in that position.

OK, Maddon has to verbally protect his players. I get that. But "loved it." Poor choice of words.

I pulled for the Cubs last fall. I pulled for Chicago.

Watching them now, I regret that.

Worth noting

• Center fielder Manuel Margot was 0-for-4 Monday night as he started his rehab assignment for Triple-A El Paso. Margot has been sidelined since May 25 with a calf injury.

• Speaking of El Paso, former Padres Ryan Schimpf and Jabari Blash have each homered in the past two Chihuahuas games. Blash now has 13 homers on the season, the most in the Padres' Minor League system.

• Right-hander Phil Maton struck out two in a perfect eighth inning Monday night. He has now worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings in five Major League outings, allowing one hit while striking out six.

• Left fielder Jose Pirela ended a run of 13 straight hitless at-bats when he opened Monday night's game with a home run off Jon Lester.

San Diego Padres