NEW YORK -- On Wednesday, one day after three players, two coaches and a manager were ejected following a benches-clearing brawl between the D-backs and the Dodgers, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny expressed his disgust with pitchers throwing high and inside -- too close to the head -- with intent.
Tuesday's melee in Los Angeles was set off when Arizona's Ian Kennedy hitting opposing starter Zack Greinke on the shoulder with a pitch. The incident followed an earlier warning from home-plate umpire Clint Fagan, who had already watched Kennedy hit Yasiel Puig in the face and Greinke retaliate by plunking Miguel Montero in the back.
Although Matheny did not want to make the assumption that Kennedy was aiming at Greinke's head, he did speak generally about his disdain for those who do throw such purposeful pitches.
"I have no problem with guys pitching inside," Matheny said. "The only times I've had issues this year is when I see catchers being very deliberate coming up [in their stance] when they're coming [inside]. I never, never did that in my career. I never once asked our guys to do that. I never will. Coming inside is one thing, but when you start putting targets like that up at guys' heads. … I just don't think there is a room in the game for messing around guys' heads.
"You don't want to see anybody get hurt. You don't want to see anybody get hit in the head. Every time I see a ball sail for or against us, I don't like it. I'm not a fan."
Matheny approached an opposing manager earlier this year to let him know he didn't like how frequently the catcher on that club gave a pitcher a high-and-inside target. That manager, Matheny said, was not receptive to his comments.
"There's a club we have faced a number of times this year that [keeps] emphasizing that they want the catcher standing up behind the guy inside," he said. "That stuff drives me crazy, and I don't think there's any room for it. I really don't. It's not something we do in our organization. Have we missed high? Yeah, and I'm going to tell you again that we have humans, we have men out there who make mistakes, and balls are going to take off. But as far as team philosophy, no way. I don't think it's wrong."
Though Matheny did not name the team he was describing, it is known that the Cardinals have taken exception to the way Cubs catcher Welington Castillo sets up. The Cubs, under manager Dale Sveum, come to St. Louis next week for a four-game series, their first stop at Busch Stadium this season.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.