One of Dusty Baker's biggest concerns as he takes over the reins for the Houston Astros is the safety of his players. Baker is worried after a few pitchers made comments that they might intentionally hit batters when they are at the plate.
Players around the league have expressed their anger at the Astros for using cameras to steal signs and relay what pitches were coming to their hitters. Many players were not happy that none of the players involved were punished for their roles in the scheme. A few players suggested there would be targets on the Astros players as they stepped into the batter's box this season.
''I think players will deal with it the way it should be across the league,'' Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger said. ''I don't think it's going to be a comfortable few ABs (at-bats) for a lot of those boys, and it shouldn't be. They shouldn't be comfortable.''
Players on the Los Angeles Dodgers weren't as diplomatic with their answers, though they don't play the Astros in the regular season. Starter Ross Stripling was the only player to say outright he would throw at Astros players, while Alex Wood said he expects other pitchers will throw at the Astros hitters.
"But it wouldn't surprise me if something like that happened, just to be honest. It's funny because I'm pretty sure it probably will happen. Somebody will take it into their own hands, and they'll get suspended more games than any of those guys got for the biggest cheating scandal in 100 years. It'll be pretty ironic when that happens because I'm sure that's how it will end up playing out."
Baker told reporters that he has asked Major League Baseball to help protect his players.
"I'm depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I'm hearing about," Baker said Saturday morning. "And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I'm just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt."
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