Ozzie Guillen is at it again, and this time he’s taking old friend David Riske down with him.
Last week, the emotional White Sox manager, who could also could be in hot water for directing a slur at Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti, made headlines when he (allegedly) ordered rookie pitcher Sean Tracy to retaliate in a game against Texas after Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla drilled AJ Pierzynski not once, but twice. Tracy, of course, missed and was given his demotion immediately after the game.
Last night against St. Louis, Guillen found a guy who could do it right: Riske, who ironically replaced Tracey on the Chicago roster when the Red Sox dealt him to Chicago in exchange for lefty Javier Lopez.
After Cardinals reliever Sidney Ponson hit back-to-back batters in the sixth inning last night, Riske responded in the bottom of the frame by plunking Chris Duncan in the back with two outs. He was ejected and is likely to face a suspension. Guillen will as well (many thought he should have been suspended after last week’s episode considering Joe Torre missed a game last weekend as a result of the Yankees’ own plunk-fest with the Indians.)
But Guillen, not surprisingly, says bring it on. It was worth it, he tells Daily Herald reporter Scot Gregor.
“I make it clear, my players know what they have to do, when to do it and how,’’ Guillen said. “We just come here to play the game. One thing about it, we’re going to show up to win and we’re going to be together. We’re a family and whoever wears this uniform, they’re my kids and my brothers.’’
Ponson claims he wasn’t trying to hit anybody, which is logical, considering the guy hasn’t ever really had any sort of temper problems in the past.
“If Ponson thinks he didn’t hit them on purpose, I don’t think Riske hit anybody on purpose either,’’ Guillen said. “That’s the way I look at it.’’
It’s also worth noting that Riske waited until two outs in the inning to plunk Duncan, who just happens to be the son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. Perhaps an added message?
The White Sox ended up pounding the Cardinals, 20-6. Stay tuned. Two more games remain in the series.