Ubaldo ejected after hitting Sandoval with pitch
Despite no prior warnings, umpire felt fastball near head was retaliation for hard slide in 2nd
BOSTON -- Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected from Friday night's 3-2 Orioles loss to Red Sox in the fourth inning after hitting Pablo Sandoval in the right shoulder with a pitch.
Jimenez and catcher Caleb Joseph both appeared mystified by the immediate ejection from home-plate umpire Jordan Baker, particularly because there was no warning issued to either team. Manager Buck Showalter sprinted out to speak with Baker, but Jimenez walked off several minutes later to end his night.
"That's the thing, he didn't give me a chance to react or anything," Jimenez said of his first career ejection. "Without any warning. There's no history, I'm cool with Pablo outside of baseball. You can ask him."
Jimenez said he was trying to go inside on Sandoval.
"Especially against a left-handed hitter, you aren't trying to go down, you are trying to go up. I had three walks. It's not like I had perfect command of my fastball," he said. "I was shocked."
He was far from the only one. Showalter called the ejection "professionally embarrassing" and hoped there would be further action.
"Everybody, I would think about 30-40,000 people [were shocked]. ... MLB will look at it and hopefully take some action to make sure it didn't happen again, something like that impacts the game that much," the manager said. "It's sad that it did. My biggest thing is the bullpen and what we had to do there. ... Every time somebody gets hit with a pitch, it's not intentional. And every time somebody slides hard, that's what you're supposed to do. Nobody gets mad. A lot of times you say, 'I know what it looks like,' but this time, no, not at all."
The hard slide was in reference to speculation that perhaps Jimenez's pitch was retaliation for Sandoval's slide into second base in his previous at-bat in the second inning.
"After they showed the replay on the board, Jordan saw the Orioles' dugout, and it seemed they reacted to the slide, and then Pablo's next at-bat, first pitch to him, fastball in," crew chief Jerry Meals said. "It's close to the head. It was a dangerous pitch, so it's an automatic. You can give a warning if you prefer to, but he felt it's an ejection."
Sandoval didn't take offense to the pitch and didn't think it was a fastball with intent.
"I don't think so," he said of if Jimenez was aiming for him. "It's part of the game. I was taking one for the team."
If it was intentional, it would be a curious move by Jimenez, given how well he pitched and the precarious spot it put his team -- playing a four-game set in Boston -- and the bullpen in the series opener.
Jimenez threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings, holding the Red Sox hitless over that stretch. He was replaced by right-hander Kevin Gausman. Both sides were warned following the ejection.
"It wasn't in the head," Jimenez said. "If I hit him in my head, that's a thing you might say, 'OK, it looked like it was on purpose.' But it was in the shoulder, you don't pitch left-handed hitters like Pablo down and in.
"If you think about something like [it's retaliation], at least give a warning. I mean, without history, [there isn't] anything, and he threw me out of the game."