Prince has words with Giants lefty Zito

Prince has words with Giants lefty Zito

PHOENIX -- This bowling ball just keeps on rolling.

Prince Fielder's famous "bowling ball" celebration from a 2009 win over the Giants earned him a Barry Zito pitch in the back during the 2010 Spring Training opener, and the bad blood seems to have spilled into 2011. Fielder had some words for the Giants left-hander again Monday after working a first-inning walk at Maryvale Baseball Park.

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From the Brewers' dugout, Zito's ball-four pitch looked to be in the dirt, but the left-hander asked plate umpire Stephen Barga if it was close.

"Prince was letting me know that it was a ball," Zito said.

Fielder was still talking when he reached first base, so another umpire stepped in. Each player had a different explanation for that conversation.

"Yeah, we talked a little bit," Zito said. "Caught up. Asked him how his offseason was. Family's good. No new tattoos."

Said Fielder: "I like Barry, I really do. Scott [Boras, their shared agent] called and we have dinner tonight. I asked him which one we were going to. I said Houston's. He thought Fleming's."

At that point, Fielder let out a big laugh. He didn't want to talk about it further except to say, "It wasn't serious. It was just talk."

Their feud began in September 2009, when the Brewers beat the pennant-chasing Giants in 13 innings at Miller Park on Fielder's home run. Fielder jumped on home plate surrounded by his teammates, who fell backwards as if knocked down by a bowling ball.

Considering the Brewers were out of the race, the Giants didn't appreciate the gesture. Zito's first pitch to Fielder the following spring struck the bulky first baseman between the numbers on the back of his jersey.