Bud Norris said this was the first ejection of his career tonight and he didn’t feel it was justified.
Norris was ejected after hitting Torii Hunter in the top of the eighth. That followed a two-run homer by Ian Kinsler that gave Detroit a 4-1 lead.
“First of all I respect Torii Hunter and the game he has played for a long time. But I’m out there trying to do my job late in the game,” Norris said.
“I threw a first-pitch slider. He took a really aggressive hack at it, so I felt he was on my slider. Tried to throw a four-seam fastball in and it kind of got going in on me. Late in the game eighth inning, 115 pitches or whatever it may be.
“I’m sorry he didn’t appreciate it but I’m trying to throw a ball over the plate to get an out. This is a tough loss for us and I’m obviously a little wound up about it. Trying to pitch deep in the game and help my team win.
“He didn’t like it and he’s entitled to his opinion, but I think he did overreact a bit. I didn’t like the first swing he took on my slider so I wasn’t going to the outer half of the plate again. Trying to throw a four seamer in there. He didn’t like it. Guess he did overreact if that’s the way he feels.”
Norris objected when a reporter suggested this was the third time this season he had words with a hitter. Norris and David Ross had words in Boston April 19. Ross was unhappy when a Norris pitch came up and in as he was attempting to bunt.
“This is the second time first of all and Ross didn’t like it in a sac bunt situation,” Norris said. “You know people are entitled to their opinion. A lot of people have a lot of opinions. But I’m trying to play the game, throw the ball over the plate and get outs.
“Davis Ross apologized immediately after that one. Like I said, I don’t know what is going to happen here. Torii can take what he wants from it. I’m trying to throw a fastball over the plate, trying to get a groundball to third base.”
Norris, who gave up five hits and four runs over 7 2/3 innings, felt his ejection by home plate umpire James Hoye was not necessary.
“Absolutely. It came out pretty quick. I didn’t understand why. Had been pitching to both sides of the plate and hadn’t hit anyone. I moved some feet earlier in the game.
“Because he (Hunter) said something, I’m immediately tossed? As a starting pitcher it’s a little difficult. We don’t get to talk to the umpires every pitch. We don’t get to ask about balls and strikes, is that down or off? We don’t have that communication line and we pretty much keep our mouth shut out there.
“Little frustrating. Never been tossed in my career, this is the first time. Like I said, we’ll see what happens from here.”
Norris felt he would not have been ejected if Hunter had not reacted to getting hit.
“I don’t think so at all. His reaction kind of stirred the umpire too. It stirred up their bench,” Norris said.
Catcher Steve Clevenger talked about his view of what happened.
“You know, he was at 110 pitches, 112 pitches, his arm was getting tired,” he said. “We threw first-pitch slider. We weren’t trying to hit him, we were just trying to go back inside there. He took a good swing at the slider and we were trying to work back in.
“It is what it is. It was unintentional. We were just trying to go in there.”
Was Clevenger surprised at Norris’ ejection?
“Yeah I was,” he said. “Like I said, we were working in all game long. (Ian) Krol came in and buzzed Nicky (Markakis) a couple of times and nothing was said. We worked in, guy got hit, ejected him. I don’t agree with the call.
“Torii got a little mad he got hit. He started running his mouth a little bit late. But, you know, he’s got a reason to be upset. After a guy hits a homer and you get drilled, you know, you got a little reason to be upset. But it was unintentional and we’ll go from there.”