CHICAGO -- Tim Hudson acknowledged that there are instances when a pitcher must protect his teammates or respond to a situation by throwing at an opposing batter.
But he did not agree with Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels' decision to introduce himself to Nationals 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper by hitting him with a pitch on Sunday night. Hamels admitted after the game that he intentionally plunked the energetic Harper. Major League Baseball responded on Monday by issuing Hamels a five-game suspension.
"Don't hate him because [Harper is] pretty hyped up," Hudson said. "He hadn't done anything to disrespect anybody. He's got some flair. But just about every kid now when they get called up just about does. It goes back to the whole travel-ball era. The kids now are treated like big leaguers when they are 12 [years old] or when they hit their first homer. I like the way he plays. He plays hard."
Harper simply went to first base after feeling the pain of getting hit at the small of the back. Just eight games into his much-anticipated big league career, Harper then stole home as Hamels threw to first base with a pickoff move.
"You don't ever have to hit somebody, but there are a lot of times where it warrants something like that," Hudson said. "It depends on what happens. But you should never hit somebody just because you don't like them or the way somebody plays. That's personal."