Teaming up: Price, Papi latest duo to bury hatchet
Red Sox stars join list of players to have had run-ins with future teammates
By Paul Casella
Once feuding rivals, new teammates David Price and David Ortiz have seemingly already set aside their differences in their conjoined quest to bring the Red Sox another World Series title.
Price, who signed a seven-year, $217 million contract to join the Red Sox this offseason, was admittedly nervous about becoming teammates with a player with whom he shared a bit of a history. The bad blood began in the 2013 American League Division Series when Price, then with the Rays, was upset by the amount of time Ortiz took to round the bases after hitting his second home run off the southpaw. He retaliated by hitting Ortiz in the back during their first meeting the following season, prompting Ortiz to publicly criticize the hurler following the game.
All of that seems to be a thing of the past, however, as the two superstars now share a common goal. Though they may be two of the most high-profile players to become teammates after quarreling, they certainly are not the first to do so. The following is a closer look at some other teammates over the past couple decades who had to overcome their past grievances.
Pedro Martinez and Gerald Williams
One of the best starts of Martinez's career began with the opening batter -- future teammate Williams -- charging the mound after being plunked on the wrist. Martinez took the mound for the Aug. 29, 2000, clash against the last-place Rays with his Red Sox locked in a tight battle for the AL Wild Card spot. Though he was in the midst of the best season of his Hall of Fame career -- and on his way to winning his third AL Cy Young Award in four years -- Martinez's night got off to a rocky start. His 1-2 pitch struck the hand of Williams, who hesitated for a few seconds before charging the mound, where he shoved Martinez and attempted to throw a punch at him.
Williams was ejected, while Martinez not only remained in the game, but retired each of the next 24 batters before losing his bid for no-hitter on a leadoff single in the ninth inning. He finished with 13 strikeouts and no walks in a one-hit shutout. The two became teammates when Martinez elected to sign with the Mets ahead of the 2005 season. Martinez went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA in his debut season with New York, while Williams split time between the Mets and Triple-A Norfolk before calling it a career at season's end.
Kevin Youkilis and Joba Chamberlain
After spending his first 8 1/2 seasons as a fan favorite with the Red Sox, Youkilis turned some heads in December 2012 when he chose to sign a one-year deal with the archrival Yankees. Though Youkilis had numerous run-ins with the Yanks during his time with Boston, it was Chamberlain with whom he had the most history. The feud began in '07 when Chamberlain threw back-to-back 98-mph pitches over Youkilis' head, for which the reliever was suspended two games.
The next chapter came the following season, when Youkilis slid hard into Chamberlain after racing home on a wild pitch and Chamberlain retaliated by throwing a pitch behind Youkilis in his next at-bat. Chamberlain didn't actually hit Youkilis until 2012, after the veteran slugger had been traded midseason to the White Sox. Despite the longstanding rivalry, Chamberlain attempted to immediately smooth things over by leaving Youkilis a voicemail to welcome him to the Yankees shortly after news of the signing broke.
"It's not a big deal to me," Youkilis said on his introductory conference call at the time. "If it was that big of a deal, I wouldn't be signing with the Yankees. But I don't think it's that big of a deal. And I think a lot of it was made out to be a lot bigger with the media and the fans."
Josh Beckett and Bobby Abreu
There's not a whole lot of history between these two, but they did share a tense moment in 2009 before briefly becoming teammates with the Dodgers three years later. The incident in question came on April 12 when Abreu, then with the Angels, called for a timeout after a long pause on the mound by Boston's Beckett, who was attempting to hold the speedy Chone Figgins close to second base. The umpire granted the timeout, but Beckett completed his motion and threw a pitch anyway. While it's certainly not unusual for a pitcher to finish his delivery following a late timeout call, this particular pitch sailed in the direction of Abreu's head. Abreu raised his arms as he stared toward the mound, while Beckett started to walk toward Abreu, causing both benches to clear.
"I don't know," Abreu said at the time, when asked if he thought Beckett intentionally threw at him. "The umpire called time, I called time, too. For some reason -- I don't know if he heard it or not -- he threw the ball at my head. It doesn't look good. If I wasn't paying attention, I would have gotten hit in the head. That's not right. It was very close."
Though Beckett wasn't ejected from the game, he was handed a six-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Abreu. Neither player, however, seemed to hold a grudge long-term and it was a non-factor when the two ended up playing together for the Dodgers for much of the 2012 season.
Jose Fernandez and Chris Johnson
Much like Price and Ortiz, new teammates Fernandez and Johnson will attempt to reconcile their past differences this season. The Marlins signed Johnson earlier this offseason despite the fact that he had a notorious run-in with the club's ace on Sept. 11, 2013. Then a member of the Braves, Johnson -- and numerous teammates -- took exception to Fernandez's exuberant reaction upon hitting his first career home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Johnson and Fernandez had already exchanged words following Johnson's flyout in the top-half of the inning, and tensions flared once again during Fernandez's home run trot. Replays showed that Johnson spit toward the ground as Fernandez approached third base, while Fernandez responded by spitting toward the base itself. He then had a separate encounter with catcher Brian McCann as he attempted to cross home plate, causing the benches to clear.
"The kid is a good pitcher," Johnson said at the time. "He's got some other stuff going on, too, that upsets people sometimes. There were some guys in the dugout who weren't too happy with the smiling after getting people out and all of that kind of stuff. But it's fine. It's just guys being guys out there battling."
Fernandez told reporters this week that the incident, for which he apologized shortly after, was in the past and that he and Johnson are on good terms.
Jason Marquis and Justin Upton
This is one of the more unique cases on the list, as Marquis and Upton became teammates less than two months after Marquis had been ejected for hitting Upton with a pitch. Then a member of the Nationals, Marquis was tossed from a June 5, 2011, game for hitting Upton one inning after warnings had been issued to both teams. Marquis insisted it was unintentional -- very possible, given the fact that his club was clinging to a 1-0 lead with a runner already on first base -- but home plate umpire Rob Drake took no chances, especially considering it was the fourth time Upton had been hit by a pitch in that series alone.
Upton acknowledged after the game that he did not believe Marquis meant to hit him, though he did express frustration at the number of times he had been hit in the series. Given the lack of personal tension between Marquis and Upton, there was little concern about the two co-existing when the D-backs acquired the right-hander on July 30, less than two months later.
"I'm a big believer what goes on on the field just stays there," Marquis said at the time of the trade. "Obviously it was an unintentional pitch to Justin. It's part of the game. Like I said, I've been on the other end of it, whether getting hit or trash-talking, and that's stuff that goes on on the field and that's part of the game. I don't foresee any problems. I don't know Justin personally, but I hear good things about him and we're teammates now so we're all on the same page."
Victor Martinez and Rick Porcello
The main altercation in the Aug. 11, 2009, game between the Tigers and Red Sox came after Porcello plunked Youkilis with a second-inning pitch, though Martinez had his own run-in with Detroit hurler one inning earlier. The elevated tensions seemingly stemmed from the fact that Boston pitchers had hit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera with a pitch in the first inning and in the previous night's game. Porcello responded in the bottom of the first by throwing a pitch high and tight to Martinez, who gestured toward the mound but managed to avoid taking the brunt of Detroit's retaliation.
Martinez acknowledged after the game, however, that the incident was more the result of circumstances between the two teams than anything personal between he and Porcello. The five-time All-Star signed with the Tigers as a free agent after the following season and went on to spend four seasons as Porcello's teammate from 2011-14.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.