Left-hander tossed in second inning for throwing inside pitch to A-Rod
By Chandler Rome
HOUSTON -- Starter Brett Oberholtzer was ejected after he threw an inside pitch at Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez with one out in the second inning during the Astros' 9-6 loss on Saturday. Manager A.J. Hinch announced after the game that Oberholtzer was optioned to Triple-A Fresno.
Oberholtzer had just allowed a two-run home run to Chris Young to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead, then threw inside to Rodriguez with his next pitch. The pitch did not hit Rodriguez, but Oberholtzer was immediately ejected by home-plate umpire Rob Drake. Oberholtzer had also allowed a grand slam to Brian McCann in the first inning.
"I think it's a little bit of everything," Hinch said when asked if Oberholtzer being optioned was related to the ejection. "We got put in a tough spot in our bullpen where a lot of guys have been used. We're going to need an arm up here. Disappointed to have to do it."
Following the game, Oberholtzer maintained he did not intentionally throw at Rodriguez and chalked the pitch up to a missed spot.
"In the previous three starts I had success going in, unfortunately I missed my spot pretty bad," Oberholtzer said. "I think the situation escalated because it was A-Rod and because Young hit a home run previously on a changeup away. A lot of these guys' approach is to stand close on the plate and hack. That's what McCann did, Young's a good example. A-Rod's a great hitter. He made a name for himself in the big leagues for a long time."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to hold back CC Sabathia from charging onto the field after the incident.
"I think it's a kid getting frustrated," Girardi said after the game. "I definitely think he threw at Alex. You don't want to see that, but we've seen it before. You just move on."
Hinch began his postgame news conference by commenting on the ejection.
"I'm going on the record and saying that's not how we operate around here," Hinch said. "Obviously for all the adrenaline that goes on at the beginning of the game when we're getting down, we don't operate that way, we won't operate that way. It's not a reflection of anyone around here, including [Oberholtzer]. The Yankees know, I'll make sure Alex knows. There's no place in our game for that kind of activity."
Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.