Sport

Steve Cishek apologizes for hitting Mets’ Francisco Lindor

WASHINGTON — The Nationals are sorry.

There weren’t many apologies or blame games coming from the home clubhouse on Friday night after backup pitcher Steve Cishek hit Francisco Lindor with a near-face pitch, sparking a bench and bullpen incident. Twice in the first two games, a Mets star was hit near the face. Pete Alonso was knocked out by a throw that ricocheted off his shoulder on Thursday, leaving his mouth bleeding.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez admitted that “I would be furious” if it were the other way around.

“They’re upset and I understand that,” Martinez added. “Both times it was unintentional – super-intentional. But it happened, so I don’t have bad feelings about what they did. I went out there to protect our players.”

Cishek and Nationals third base coach Gary DiSarcina were ejected. Lindor also left the game – a 7-3 win for the Mets – but X-rays and a concussion test came back negative. The pitch was designed to go up and in because Lindor had adjusted to Bunt.

Steve Cishek (left) is restrained by Keibert Ruiz after hitting Francisco Lindor, sparking a bench eviction between the Mets and Nationals.
Steve Cishek (left) is restrained by Keibert Ruiz after hitting Francisco Lindor, sparking a bench eviction between the Mets and Nationals.
Corey SIPKIN

“It shocked me because I don’t think I’ve ever hit a left-handed player in the face or on the head before,” Cishek said. “I put my head down and my first intention was to go over and see if he was okay. When I did that, I realized it was a bad idea because I had just cheered their bank on a bit.”

Cishek later went into the hospital room to review the results of Lindor’s X-rays. In fact, he found Lindor waiting.

“I shook his hand and apologized and made sure he was okay. He said he was,” Cishek said. “I told him, ‘I’m sorry about what happened. Obviously your teammates have your back and I respect that.’ He was cool with it. Really nice guy.”

Cishek was kicked out of the tournament because of his role as an attacker in the bout (like DiSarcina) and not because of the place, the judges later confirmed.

“There was no intention,” Cishek said. “I thought I would get a warning for sure, but getting kicked out was a bit of a surprise.”

Steve Cishek reacts after being sacked for knocking down Francisco Lindor in the Mets' 7-3 win.
Steve Cishek reacts after being sacked for knocking down Francisco Lindor in the Mets’ 7-3 win.
AP

Mets third base coach Joey Cora appeared to be heading straight for Cishek as the dugout emptied and Lindor lay face down in the dirt. Cishek kept hearing members of the Mets count how many hit batsmen (four) there had been at the start of the season.

“I just said, ‘If you think I hit him on purpose, you’re crazy. I didn’t do that,'” Cishek said. “Unfortunately I tried to defend my own integrity but also the integrity of my teammates because a lot of things have been said.

“Honestly it wasn’t the right time for this after they punched their best player in the face. I wish I had just shut up and worn it. … Even if it was an apology, it wasn’t necessary. They just had to support their teammate there. I understand that.”

Easier said than done.

“I see Pete Alonso — a big guy — coming out of the corner of my eye and saying things,” Cishek said. “My first intention is to defend myself.”

Martinez said pitcher Mason Thompson apologized before Friday’s game for hitting Alonso on Thursday.

“It sucks,” Martinez said. “You never want to see someone go in their head. I do not know what’s up. I have two [pitchers] who are quite upset about it.”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/09/steve-cishek-apologizes-for-hitting-mets-francisco-lindor/ Steve Cishek apologizes for hitting Mets’ Francisco Lindor

JOE HERNANDEZ

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