Last season outfielder Justin Upton was hit 19 times by opposing pitchers, tying him for first in the National League, but Arizona pitchers will not tolerate the same kind of treatment of Upton this year.
Starting pitcher Daniel Hudson said the Diamondbacks would not put up with Upton being targeted this season by opposing pitchers. So far this spring Upton has been plunked twice in 13 games. The latest incident was Wednesday during the split squad game against the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning.
Padres pitcher Joe Weiland hit Upton and in the seventh inning setup man David Hernandez hit Will Venable. Hernandez and the rest of the pitching staff are doing the correct thing. It was unacceptable that Upton was hit that many times during last season and the team needs to stand up and protect its star player.
We can expect to see much more of this kind of retaliation as long as opposing pitchers continue thinking they can hit Upton with no repercussions.
Now to recap what has happened today in the Diamondbacks spring game against the Chicago Cubs. Ian Kennedy got the start today and looked solid in four innings of work, giving up five hits, striking out three batters, walking one and holding the Cub scoreless, lowering his spring ERA to 5.40. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt had an incredible game, going one for two, hitting a grand slam, with four RBIs and only one left on base.
Second baseman Aaron Hill and Upton both went two for three and the Diamondbacks won the game 12-2. This is the type of play we have all been expecting the D-backs to play and the type of starting pitching we should expect from Kennedy and the rest of the starters. It looks as if the team is preparing well for the start of the season.