Robinson Chirinos explains why he shoved Matt Kemp
All parties agreed Wednesday night that the collision at home plate between Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Matt Kemp and Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos did not violate MLB Rule 7.13.
Kemp did not alter his course as he tried to take out Chirinos, who was deemed to not be blocking the plate because the throw from right fielder Nomar Mazara took him into the base path.
"I was not expecting it because now a days nobody goes after you," Chirinos said. "But I know it happens in the game, and I'm not mad the way he went after me."
What, then, caused the mild-mannered Chirinos to go after Kemp?
"It was how he reacted after that," Chirinos said. "He should have gotten up and walked to the dugout, but he got up and kind of leaned into me."
Chirinos said that Kemp unnecessarily and, apparently, intentionally made contact with his shoulder as the two players untangled and tried to get to their feet, and that's when Chirinos responded a shove that led to a shove from Kemp.
That led to both benches emptying and both players getting ejected.
"Both players were ejected for shoving and fighting after the play," crew chief Bill Welke said.
The fracas resulted in one minor injury to Rangers reliever Chris Martin. Manager Jeff Banister said that Martin felt a twinge in a hamstring while pouring onto the field and was unavailable to pitch in the 3-2 loss in 11 innings.
Chirinos, who dealt with concussions earlier in his career, walked away healthy.
"I didn't know I hit the ground that hard," Chirinos said. "When I went into the video room, I saw that I did, but I'm fine."
While Kemp's play was clean, the Rangers were concerned that Chirinos was left vulnerable to contact after Kemp took the rare act of not observing the spirit of the Rule 7.13, which implemented in 2014 to avoid injuries to catchers.
Kemp said that running Chirinos over was clean, but then said he didn't understand the 4-year-old rule.
"I don’t even know how it works," he said. "I think it’s unclear to everybody."
Chirinos, though, contended that the rule is clear.
"I think everybody understands that rule," Chirinos said. "They talk so many times in spring training that pretty much everybody understands about the rule."
Kemp didn't seem too contrite for the play. Chirinos, though, said that emotions took over and he regrets it.
"I'm sorry for the fans that were watching that," he said. "That's not supposed to happen, but it happened tonight."