ESPN News Services
Fiers plunked Stanton on the left forearm in the third inning of the Tigers‘ 4-2 victory Monday over the Yankees, leading to a brief verbal exchange between the Detroit pitcher and the reigning National League MVP.
“He wasn’t trying to hit me [tonight], but still, with the history, don’t hit me,” Stanton said Monday. “That doesn’t eliminate pitching [inside] — this is the major leagues — but either get it over the plate or make sure it doesn’t hit me.”
Stanton exacted some revenge in the sixth inning by blasting a 456-foot home run off Fiers, emphatically flipping his bat and then pointing his finger at the right-hander as he crossed home plate.
“I understand that he’s pissed, but the way he handled it was kind of childish,” Fiers said. “He’s going to act how he’s going to act, but it kind of shows his character.
“Getting his revenge and throwing his bat and pointing? That’s not part of this game. Yeah, you’re supposed to have fun, but I think that’s kind of childish.”
Stanton has worn a protective guard over his left cheek/jaw area ever since being hit in the face by Fiers’ 88 mph fastball on Sept. 11, 2014. He suffered season-ending facial fractures and also needed to undergo multiple dental procedures.
Stanton yelled at Fiers after being hit in the arm Monday but was restrained by Tigers catcher James McCann as he headed toward first base. He said he did not intend to start a fight with Fiers but emphasized that his reaction was warranted because of their history.
“I’m not trying to stir this up,” Stanton said. “It is what it is obviously. When anything like that happens and another ball like that [hits you] … no matter how many years it is, you’re not going to be happy. I’m not going to just walk to first and everything is going to be OK.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire both understood Stanton’s reaction but agreed that Fiers wasn’t intentionally throwing at the four-time All-Star.
“I think it’s a case of Giancarlo getting a serious injury and then getting hit,” Boone said. “I think just a little frustration.”
“I can tell you that Mike Fiers was not trying to hit him and load the bases,” Gardenhire said. “I also understand what Stanton’s talking about. He’s been hit — they have a history. I get it. But there was nothing there. It’s baseball.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.