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Tony La Russa defends Diamondbacks against charges of dirty play

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Norm Hall

Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa says the DBacks are catching too much flak for their dirty play, and he also thinks the Pirates are partially to blame for their "risky" style of pitching:

"I don't see where the Diamondbacks should catch all this (expletive) they're catching," La Russa said. ...

"(Pitching up and in has its) rewards because I don't care if you're a right-hander or left-hander, that spot right there, nobody gets to that pitch. ... The problem is, unless you have Greg Maddux pitching, that's a very risky area to throw in. ...

"What surprises me about this one is Pittsburgh is one of those clubs. And I don't judge because if that's the way you want to pitch, you need to understand — with those rewards, it comes with risks. There's an old expression that you learn in competition — there ain't no free lunch."

I'm not sure what to say about this. Ernesto Frieri was trying to hit a target that was about a foot from Paul Goldschmidt. He missed, but it wasn't a terribly dangerous or in any way unethical or illegal strategy. And so La Russa is suggesting it's okay to retaliate for an obvious mistake by intentionally hitting and potentially injuring a batter with a fastball one pitch after throwing him a slider away. Diamondbacks pitchers' behavior is pretty close to official team policy, as Michael Baumann of Grantland pointed out earlier this week. It's ugly, and it needs to be stopped.