CINCINNATI – Lorenzo Cain and the Kansas City Royals may not have appreciated their time with Jeff Samardzija recently, but ex-teammates in the Cubs’ clubhouse had the White Sox right-hander’s back the day after his Thursday night fight card at the Cell.
“It was a situation where things got out of line, and guys are going to stick up for their teammates. That’s the bottom line,” said Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta. “Samardzija’s a guy who won’t really take any crap from anybody. I love that about him.”
Samardzija was in the middle of the bench-clearing incident started by Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and Sox outfielder Adam Eaton. After the initial pushing match seemed to subside, Samardzija seemed to get angry all over again, and he carried the fight to Cain, the Royals center fielder, into foul territory.
“Maybe somebody said something to him to make him react like that,” Cubs closer Hector Rondon said. “He probably had a good reason to do that. And he’s a tough guy. A really tough guy.”
Samardzija and Cain have history going back at least to Opening Day, when Samardzija hit two Royals with pitches, including Cain.
Whatever sparked the extended fireworks, former Cub teammates aren’t blaming Samardzija for defending his team.
“That’s the way we are here,” Arrieta said. “That’s just kind of the end result of a situation where guys have each others’ backs.”
Samardzija, Cain and Ventura were among the five players ejected and face likely suspensions.