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Kevin Kiermaier said if the roles were reversed and it was Rays pitchers plunking the Yankees this past weekend series, there would’ve been “a lot more controversy.”
In the three games, Yankees pitchers hit the Rays four times. Joey Wendle was hit in the helmet while Austin Meadows took one on the shoulder. Mike Zunino absorbed a pitch in the opener, and Meadows was hit again, on the hand, on Sunday.
“With the history and, I don’t know, it’s frustrating,” Kiermaier told Tampa Bay Times on Monday after the Rays took two of three from the Yankees. “It’s very frustrating. We’ll see where it goes from here. But I don’t think that was a very good look on their part, and we have every right to be very frustrated about what happened throughout the weekend.”
Kiermaier echoed the sentiment by manager Kevin Cash, who said on Sunday that MLB “grossly mishandled” the bean-ball drama between the two AL East rivals last season.
Kiermaier added that he didn’t think the Yankees threw at the Rays with “intent,” but said it was still wrong.
“There’s just certain things that just can’t happen,” said Kiermaier, an outfielder currently on the injured list. “You can’t hit a guy in the helmet. Then the next night, guy gets hit in the shoulder — if he doesn’t move, probably would’ve hit him in the neck/ head area. And then he gets hit in the wrist. A very impactful player on our team.
“You can sit here and think about what if this would have been flip-flopped. It would have been a lot more controversy. I truly believe that. We were mad. We voiced our opinions. There was a lot of barking from the dugout going on, rightfully so.”
After noting that the Rays hoped they could “turn the page” with the Yankees going into this season, Kiermaier said it was “bad timing” on the Yankees’ part.
The teams play against this weekend in The Bronx.
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