Jason Marquis will appeal the five-game suspension MLB handed him today because he still maintains his innocence: He says he did not hit Justin Upton on purpose Sunday afternoon, and in fact has never thrown at a batter in his 12-year career.
“That’s why I’m going to appeal it,” Marquis said this afternoon. “I’ve been in this game for 12 seasons. Never been ejected, never been fined, never been suspended. I don’t understand why I would start now. I’ve been in games where there have been games getting hit back and forth. It’s a 1-0 game. We’re trying to put something together here. The game is 1-0. You don’t want it to get away from you just because you’re trying to show your manhood. I’m out there trying to win as many games as possible.”
Marquis hit Upton with a first-pitch sinker after umpires had warned benches following Jayson Werth’s third plunking of the Nationals-Diamondbacks series. It was the fourth time Upton had been hit in the hit in the series, so you could see why home plate umpire Rob Drake assumed intent.
But today, Marquis built his case for why the hit by pitch was not intentional. He said he always has trouble gripping the ball in Arizona because of the dry heat (and that he told MASN’s Debbi Taylor about it the day before).
“That’s the one thing about Arizona,” Marquis said. “The air is so dry out there. Your hands never get sweaty. You never get that moisture as much as your want. Your mouth feels like cotton. That’s the tough thing for me in Arizona, the grip on the ball.”
Marquis denied that the pitch was even meant to be inside. Catcher Wilson Ramos set up outside, and the pitch darted all the way across the plate, into Upton’s midsection.
“If you actually watch where that pitch started, it started on the outer third and moved three feet,” Marquis said. “I mean, can I control, ‘I’m going to throw a three-foot sinker, and hopefully it hits him?’ Most guys take a four-seamer and usually drill a guy. The catcher set up away. My ball moved three feet if you watch the film.”