Ronald Acuna Jr. the rookie sensation with the Atlanta Braves who homered in five consecutive games, with the last three against the Miami Marlins, was hit by the first pitch of the game thrown by Marlins starter Jose Urena Wednesday night. A bench-clearing melee followed.
Umpires ejected both Urena and Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, who had angry words for Urena as he ran out of the Braves dugout toward the pitcher’s mound. Snitker said it was quite obvious what he thought and called it a shame. He said the young man (Acuna Jr.) was just playing the game and doing what he loves.
The pitch Acuna was hit with was 97.5 mph, which is the fastest ever thrown by Urena as a first pitch of a game
Acuna teammate Freddie Freeman commented that the pitch was the fastest Urena has thrown this season and clearly intentional and hopes something is done about it.
The pitch hit Acuna close to the left elbow and he was on the ground a few minutes while players from both teams shouted, pushed and shoved. Eventually Acuna got up and walked to first.
It appeared as if order had been restored until Acuna approached the pitcher’s mound while walking to first, took off his protective wrap and threw it toward mound. At that point players came out of the dugouts once again.
Acuna was taken out of the game in the second inning after flexing his arm while in left field.
Snitker said his left fielder was sore, but thankfully his x-rays came back negative and the results of more tests would be released Thursday.
Paul Nauert the third-base umpire ejected Snitker. Nauert is the crew chief and he and the other umpires met following the incident and then Chad Fairchild the plate umpire ejected Urena and warned each bench which led to Miami manager Don Mattingly protesting.
Freeman called the fastball Urena threw gutless and what he did, classless.
Snitker, Freeman and other players on the Braves believe Urena wanted to hit Acuna. Mattingly following the game said the umpires believed that Urena was trying to hit Acuna, but Mattingly became upset because Urena had not been ejected until Snitker had come onto the field a second time.
Urena said he wanted to throw an inside pitch and just missed his spot.