Aramis scratched, speaks out on plunkings

Aramis scratched, speaks out on plunkings

PHOENIX -- Aramis Ramirez sat out Saturday's 8-5 loss to the D-backs, a casualty of a wayward pitch that struck his left elbow in Friday's series-opening win against the D-backs. He had some compelling thoughts about the rate at which Brewers batters have been struck this season.

Opponents had dotted Brewers batters 29 times through Friday night, when Ramirez was one of three Brewers nursing a fresh bruise. That's most by far in the National League and second-most in the Majors entering Saturday to Tampa Bay's 30 hit batsmen. No other NL club had been hit more than the Cubs' 16.

Reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun (hit five times) and Nyjer Morgan (four) ranked second and third among NL hitters in that category. Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks and Jonathan Lucroy have been hit three times apiece, all tied for fifth in the league.

"That's got to change, because that's not fun," Ramirez said. "You can hurt people. Look at Weeks, he missed three games when he got hurt when he was hit by a pitch [in a game against the Cubs earlier this month]. I'm missing today. At some point, that's got to stop."

How do you make it stop?

"You don't want to hit people, and you don't want to hurt people, but at the same time, you have to protect your players," Ramirez said.  "It's one thing to pitch in and another thing to pitch at people.

"I always say it's tough to hit me because I'm far away from the plate. Braun is the same way, he's far away from the plate. If you hit Braun or myself, it doesn't have to be on purpose, but we shouldn't be hit that often. That's why I say, it's hard to make it stop, and I understand that pitchers have to pitch in, they have to use both sides of the plate, but if you don't know how to pitch in, you shouldn't be going in there."

Either Brewers pitchers are not working inside, or they are hitting their spots when they do. Entering Friday, they had hit the third-fewest opposing batters -- nine -- in the Majors.

So, recapping the math: That's 29 Brewers batters hit by pitches entering Saturday night, vs. nine opponents.

Brewers reliever Mike McClendon added to the latter total Saturday night when he hit Arizona's Justin Upton in the middle of the back during the D-backs' five-run third inning. Upton made his displeasure clear before taking first base.

That wayward pitch came after Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he would not be drawn into a back-and-forth situation, even if the gap continues to widen.

"I do have that philosophy [of not retaliating] because I think in the long run, that never comes out good," Roenicke said. "If you think your team is better than the other, why would you sacrifice losing your better players vs. their better players? I don't think it's ever the way to do it."

Roenicke did leave the door open slightly, saying that, "Pitching inside is definitely something we can do better as a staff. I think we have command enough that we can do that. It's interesting that we haven't hit that many guys. I think we pitch inside more this year than we did last year. Maybe we just have that good of command that we don't hit people. I don't know."

Ramirez was in the Brewers' original lineup on Saturday, batting cleanup, but that changed before the team took the field to stretch. Cody Ransom shifted from shortstop to third base and Edwin Maysonet was inserted as the starter at shortstop.

"I'm doing all right," Ramirez said. "I'm going to take today off and work on it. Hopefully, I'll be ready to go [Sunday]."