TAMPA, Fla. — Giancarlo Stanton took a long look out at the mound after he was hit in the back with a pitch by Pittsburgh’s Brett McKinney in the third inning Thursday.
In the next half-inning, the Yankees’ Adam Warren hit Jose Osuna in the foot on the first pitch of the at-bat with two outs and no one on base. In the next half-inning, Felipe Rivero knocked down Greg Bird with an up-and-in pitch with the first pitch of the inning.
For a moment, it looked as if a spring training game was going to feature a brushback war. Rivero also knocked down Tyler Wade up and in later in the inning. But Rivero was wild, walking three in one-third of an inning.
Maybe it was just a bunch of pitches getting away. But it sure seemed as if Warren was protecting Stanton, his new teammate.
Asked if he was protecting Stanton, Warren smiled and said: “Nah.” Asked if the pitch to Osuna just got away from him, Warren smiled and said: “Yup.”
Said Stanton: “There were guys throwing inside all game. Who knows? One hit batter on each side.”
Stanton was out of the game when the Yankees’ Ben Heller hit Wyatt Mathisen with one out in the ninth. But if there were any hard feelings, they won’t carry over. Unless they play in the World Series, the Yankees and Pirates won’t meet again until next year’s spring training.