PHILADELPHIA – Brad Penny responded with a verbal brushback to Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s assertion that Penny intentionally hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch, saying Girardi should worry about doing his job and not about how Penny pitches.
“I don’t give two f---- what Joe Girardi says,” Penny said. “I’m coming inside. I don’t care. Anybody can say that. We can say that about the time they hit our guys. I’m just trying to pitch inside. Maybe he should worry about managing and not trying to be the commissioner.
“Why wouldn’t he say that the night before? Don’t wait a day, then say it. He should worry about managing and let the umpire crew do their job.”
On Tuesday, Yankees reliever Jose Veras hit Jason Bay with a pitch in the sixth inning, which marked the sixth consecutive game the Yankees had hit a Red Sox batter. Bay’s plunking was the 11th of the series this season, and nine of the batters were Red Sox. Penny’s inside fastball off of Rodriguez’s elbow made the tally of hit by pitches in the series Red Sox 9, Yankees 3.
"Penny's control was pretty good, and I thought it was on purpose," Girardi said Friday. "You know, that's all part of baseball, I guess. You know, we hit Bay, and I know Jose did not hit him on purpose. I mean, Jose has struggled with his control. But things like that happen. You know, you expect something could happen in return."
On May 6, following a game in which Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain hit Bay, pitching coach John Farrell intimated in a radio interview that the Red Sox were upset at the continued plunkings. Chamberlain has a reputation for throwing inside at Kevin Youkilis.
“Those things aren't forgotten,” Farrell said May 6. “We know that there's a history there between the pitcher in New York and our guys here, so, not to say that he was specifically out to do that, but I think history speaks for itself. And we've got a number of games left with these guys.”
Penny hit Rodriguez in the first inning of Thursday night’s 4-3 Red Sox victory, on a fastball with Derek Jeter on third base. Penny’s first pitch to Rodriguez also zipped inside.
“I’m going hard in,” he said. “I don’t care if I move his feet. I have a plan, and I stick to it.”
In the wake of the Red Sox 8-0 start against the Yankees this season, Penny’s strong response to Girardi adds to the recent string of barbs between the teams. Late Thursday night, owner John Henry posted a tweet proposing the “MT curse,” a play on Mark Teixeira’s initials and his lack of a victory over the Red Sox with the Yankees.
Teixeira responded the next day, calling the post “very silly” and asking why he should worry about a “70-year-old man.” Henry is 59. Henry tweeted again later, saying "I hope I didn't hurt Mark's feelings!"
The Red sox next play the Yankees on Aug. 6, the start of a four-game series in Yankee Stadium.