Cubs' Strop: Puig 'stupid' for fuming after HBP

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Sunday, June 30, 2019

CINCINNATI -- There aren't likely to be any Christmas cards exchanged between Chicago Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig after the two had words with each other as the benches cleared in the Cubs' 6-0 win on Saturday.

Puig got hit in the hip by a 3-0 pitch from Strop in the bottom of the eighth inning and began to walk toward the mound while screaming at the pitcher. Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and first baseman Anthony Rizzo held Puig back while Puig and Strop kept yelling at each other. Things eventually calmed down, and after the game, Strop didn't understand why Puig was so upset.

"He just reacted like that," Strop said. "Maybe because it was a 3-0 pitch, maybe it looks weird. I wasn't commanding my sinker, and I didn't want to leave a cookie 3-0. He'll swing 3-0 and hit it way out of the park. He just acted stupid."

Strop wasn't finished with Puig. The righty was asked what he was yelling at the outfielder as the two were kept separated.

"I told him, 'Why are you talking?'" Strop said. "'You have a chance to do whatever you need to do on the mound. Now you're just screaming.'

"It's not a secret he's stupid. He's stupid as f---. I have nothing against him, but he's stupid. There's no doubt about it."

Puig told reporters that he hasn't had any previous issues with Strop and wasn't sure why he was hit with a 3-0 pitch.

"I don't know. You need to ask [Strop]," Puig said. "Myself and my teammates want to go out tomorrow and win the series. ... We'll play the game tomorrow and forget about what happened today."

Neither player got ejected from the game, as Puig took first base before Strop ended the inning by striking out Jose Iglesias. Reds manager David Bell did get tossed in the ninth inning, when Cubs righty Dillon Maples hit Reds infielder Jose Peraza without any punishment from the umpires.

Bell said he was asking why Maples was not ejected after both teams had been warned and was told that the pitch that hit Peraza was unintentional.It was Bell's sixth ejection of the season.

"The bottom line is I don't like it when our players get hit,'' Bell said.

Strop said there is no history of bad blood between him and Puig, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon stressed that Puig got hit in the hip -- not up high.

"I told Strop he threw his three best sliders of the year after that, to Iglesias, so he rose to the occasion," Maddon said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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