MESA, Ariz. — Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. sent a message on behalf of teammates when he hit Mariners minor-league catcher Austin Nola with a pitch Tuesday.
He made that message especially clear the day after his rare ejection from a spring-training game for the purpose pitch.
“It’s the nature of the game, spring training or not,” Edwards said. “You just get to a point where you’re kind of tired of your guys getting hit.”
Edwards, who hasn’t walked a batter this spring and joked Wednesday about how good his command is this spring (“yeah, really good”), hit Nola with one out and nobody on in the sixth after Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras had been hit by pitches earlier in the game.
Contreras, in fact, was hit after already being buzzed inside earlier in his at-bat.
Asked if he was defending a teammate, Edwards said, “Two. Two teammates.”
It was the third time in 36 plate appearances this spring Bryant had been hit. It’s the third time in 31 PAs for Contreras.
“I’m kind of tired of it,” Edwards said. “Those are guys that are going to help us win games.”
That message was not received by manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday — and it didn’t seem to be well received when it was relayed to him Wednesday.
“That’s not what I got at the moment that it occurred,” Maddon said. “That wasn’t the discussion I got, so I’m kind of surprised. I’ll research that further.
“It was a [Class] AAA team we were playing, and I didn’t think that their pitchers were necessarily being mean-spirited. So I don’t know what was going on with that.”
Edwards acknowledged that his comments could draw the attention of the league office.
“They might [call]. I have no idea,” he said. “But like I said, it’s the nature of the game. When the regular season starts, if it’s a series and guys get hit, I really expect for us to do the same thing. And I expect the same from other teams.
“I don’t want to hit nobody. I want everybody to be healthy going into the season, regardless of where they’re from. I’m just tired of it.”
Is this part of the Cubs’ newfound edge heading into 2019? Has the reckoning begun after last fall’s quick and bitter exit?
“We want to win. We all know how much we want to win,” said Edwards, who might find at least a few donations within the clubhouse if he gets fined. “In order for us to win, we need all our guys.”
Infielder Daniel Descalso, who hasn’t played in a game since March 9 because of a sore left shoulder, has progressed well in baseball activities in recent days, Maddon said.
“He’s at the point where we’re going to start trying to garner some at-bats, even on the minor-league level just to build up that cachet,” Maddon said. “But he’s feeling really good. So he might be OK [to open the season on time].”