Contreras riles up ChiSox, no regrets for bat flip

MLB

CHICAGO — Tempers flared here Friday night after catcher Willson Contreras was plunked by White Sox hurler Jimmy Cordero in the seventh inning of the Cubs’ 10-0 victory.

The hit by pitch came several innings after Contreras threw his bat high into the air to celebrate a three-run homer as he began to circle the bases.

“I knew it was coming,” Contreras said afterward. “I have no regrets, zero regrets. Once they hit me, I don’t think that’s the smartest thing to do. He got thrown out. And who knows if he’s going to get suspended?”

The Cubs immediately began yelling from their dugout after Contreras was hit, prompting the umpires to gather before deciding to eject Cordero. Soon after, both White Sox manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper were kicked out.

Renteria disagreed with the ejections.

“The ball got away from him,” Renteria said of Cordero’s pitch. “We couldn’t convince him (the umpire) of that … There was no warning. They just gathered and ejected him.”

Though Cubs manager David Ross admitted it might not have been his style to bat flip after a home run, he backed his catcher, who led a five-home-run barrage for the Cubs. The team has struggled offensively all month, so Ross viewed what happened as cathartic.

“It wasn’t to disrespect the other group,” he said. “It was because we’ve been struggling offensively and he brought some swagger. He brought some edge. I loved every second of it.

“I don’t think he deserved to get hit, at all.”

Ross recalled a time when White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson bat-flipped himself into some controversy in 2019. Anderson has been outspoken about letting players show their emotions.

“All the hype is on the guy on the other side when he bat-flipped, right?” Ross said. “I thought Tim Anderson’s bat flip last year where he flipped it and looked in his dugout, that’s what you want. That’s what Willson did.”

Contreras is known as an emotional, and at times hot-headed, player, but he said he felt like he was right in line with the way the game is in 2020 — bat flips are in and retaliation is out.

“I’m not going to change anything,” Contreras said. “I play hard for my team. I always want to do the best for my team. But if they don’t like me, that’s fine. I don’t play for other teams to like me, anyways. And if I have to do it again, I will do it again.”

He added one caveat.

“I didn’t mean to throw it that high,” he said with a smile.

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