White Sox notebook: After ejections, Tony La Russa denies hitting Shohei Ohtani on purpose

Pitcher Mike Wright was tossed for the first time in his career. La Russa soon was tossed, too, his third time this season and the 91st of his career.

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Los Angeles Angels v Chicago White Sox

Hit Shohei Ohtani on purpose? Never.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Of course it raised eyebrows Thursday when journeyman reliever Mike Wright took the ball for the ninth inning of a 9-3 loss to the Angels, got the first two men out and then plunked two-way star Shohei Ohtani in the leg with a pitch.

Three White Sox players — Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu — had, after all, been hit by Angels pitchers two games before in the opener of a three-game series. Robert was hit in the head, although it was more of a glancing blow and he was OK. Abreu was hit for the 19th time this season, a career-high.

Manager Tony La Russa hasn’t done much retaliating this season, but he was accused of leaning that way a time or two — and more — earlier in his career.

Wright was tossed by crew chief Bill Welke, his first career ejection. La Russa soon was tossed, too, his third time this season and the 91st of his career.

“It was not intentional,” La Russa said. “The reasoning did not make sense.”

Two things, according to La Russa, are important to this discussion. One, the umpires took note of three Sox getting hit Tuesday but didn’t do anything about it. Two, the Sox could’ve thrown at Angels hitters sooner if they wanted to get down and dirty.

“[Welke] read it wrong, and it wasn’t consistent with the way that, No. 1, they treated [our] three hit batsmen, and secondly, where was our retaliation?”

La Russa said. “He made a mistake. It’s upsetting. It looks bad for our pitcher, our team, me. It disappoints me.”

A rough one for Lopez

Starter Reynaldo Lopez came in 2-0 with a puny 0.90 ERA in seven appearances (two starts) at Guaranteed Rate Field. This one turned ugly on him, a combination of bad defense behind him and the pair of long balls he surrendered over four forgettable innings.

“I know that everybody is trying to do their best, and I’ve learned throughout my career that everybody wants to play good and do their best,” he said. “But sometimes it can’t happen.”

Hey, that’s a 0.00 ERA

After Wright’s ejection, Romy Gonzalez came in from third base and struck out Max Stassi for the final out of the Angels’ ninth. It was a big-league first — big-time.

“Maybe in high school I pitched once, but never past high school,” Gonzalez said. “That was pretty cool to get out there, especially to get a strikeout.”

This and that

Catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Moncada got the day off, even though Granda; has a 30-game on-base streak — the longest active streak in the league — and Moncada homered on Wednesday.

“We don’t want to push Yaz,” La Russa said. “He’s really working hard behind the plate, and he’s on base all the time.”

• The Sox fell to 14-16 vs. the AL West. Only a sweep in Texas would turn that into a winning record.

• Pencil in Carlos Rodon for two more regular-season starts — one in Detroit and the other at home against the Reds — as the Sox gear him back up slowly for the playoffs.

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