By BERNIE WILSON, Associated Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Zack Greinke's pitch sailed up and into Carlos Quentin's upper left arm, and it was on.
A little personal history was at play, as were rules that aren't in any rule book.
Now the Dodgers will be without their $147 million pitcher for at least eight weeks and Quentin was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball, pending an appeal, because of baseball culture and its fuzzy, unspoken guidelines on just when and how it's OK to bean someone.
After Quentin got hit, the San Diego Padres' slugger took a few steps onto the grass. When Greinke, Los Angeles' prize offseason signing, appeared to say something, Quentin tossed his bat aside and rushed the mound.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Greinke dropped his glove and the two players lowered their shoulders. The 6-2, 240-pound Quentin — who starred as an outside linebacker in high school — slammed into the pitcher.
Quentin and Greinke ended up at the bottom of a huge scrum as players from both sides ran onto the field and jumped in Thursday night.
Greinke took the brunt of the blow, breaking his left collarbone and inciting a fight that didn't even end when the game was over. The Dodgers said Greinke will undergo surgery on Saturday to have a rod inserted into the collarbone.
"It's a man's game on the field," Quentin said. "Thoughts aren't present when things like this happen."
Quentin didn't back down on Friday, saying that getting plunked by pitches by Greinke during the 2008 and 2009 seasons was justification enough to charge the mound when it happened again.
"It's an unfortunate situation that someone got hurt and I do have a lot of remorse that someone did get hurt," Quentin said before the Padres opened a series against Colorado. "But I will say that I felt I had to protect myself and that what happened on that field as a result could have been avoided."
Quentin reiterated that it was the first time he'd ever rushed the mound.
"If things were different, I may have never gone to the mound. And it's just a shame that the Dodger organization has lost one of their key members."
Quentin spoke to the media before his suspension was announced. He also was fined an undisclosed amount.
"Unless it's two months it's not enough," Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said after he took the loss in Arizona's 3-0 victory Friday night. "... I know it can't happen, but I don't understand why he (Quentin) should get to play and Zack doesn't, for him acting the way he did. But I'm glad the league did eight. That's probably more than some people were expecting, so it's a step."
Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount.
Quentin and Hairston are playing, pending appeals by the players' association.
No discipline was announced for Greinke and Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp.
Hairston, Quentin, Kemp and Greinke were ejected after the brawl.
While pitching for Kansas City against the Chicago White Sox on July 18, 2008, Greinke hit Quentin with a pitch near the left wrist, loading the bases. Then on April 8, 2009, Greinke hit Quentin between the shoulders in the fourth inning after throwing one high and tight during Quentin's previous at-bat. Quentin took about a step toward the mound then, before plate umpire Bill Hohn jumped in front of him.
Quentin said Greinke threw a pitch over his head and the next pitch "directly at my face. If I don't put my shoulder in the way it hits my face. ... Last night I didn't go out there until I was provoked to go out there.
"I saw an expletive followed by whatever you guys want to translate," he said.
At its core, Thursday's brawl was about baseball's quirky decorum.
The game naturally has a tension between pitchers and batters over balls thrown over the inside of the plate, and sometimes that flares into disagreement over who "owns" the inside half. While the Dodgers were adamant that Greinke wouldn't hit Quentin on a full-count pitch in a one-run game, some in the Padres clubhouse mentioned that Greinke usually has pinpoint accuracy.
Quentin's rushing the mound was taking baseball protocol to the extreme, whereas in many other instances, the batter might gesture and yap while being escorted toward first base by the umpire and the catcher.