Padilla disappointed by Rangers' move
Fiery right-hander defends character, vows to pitch again
ANAHEIM -- Pitcher Vicente Padilla expressed disappointment at being designated for assignment by the Rangers and being labeled as a bad teammate.He also made it clear he expects to be pitching with another team before this season is over. "This is part of the business of baseball," Padilla said by phone Friday. "I am going to keep working hard to pitch. I can still pitch." The Rangers designated Padilla for assignment before Friday's game with the Angels. General manager Jon Daniels suggested that it was the culmination of a series of events and that Padilla was just not a good teammate. Two incidents involving Padilla throwing at opposing hitters and causing retaliation against his own teammates were a part of it. Padilla also had a reputation for being late or missing advanced scouting meetings and other important functions. But there was also the perception that he just didn't care about either the team or his teammates. Padilla strongly disputed that. "If they say that, they are saying something I am not," Padilla said. "Why don't players say it to my face if I'm a bad teammate. We'll talk about it." Padilla was 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA in 18 starts for the Rangers. He was on the disabled list at the end of May with a sore right shoulder and also missed starts in July because of that problem and a nasty case of swine flu. He has made two starts since missing two weeks because of the flu. He was 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in those two starts, beating the Mariners on July 31 and losing to the Athletics on Wednesday, 7-5. Padilla was told of the decision in a brief meeting with Daniels and manager Ron Washington before Friday's game. Daniels informed Padilla of his status. Padilla simply said OK and left the meeting. The Rangers later had strength and conditioning coach Jose Vazquez explain the situation to Padilla to make sure he understood. "I'm never surprised with this team," Padilla said. "I was sick and I did all I could to come back. I pitched sick. The second time I pitched after being sick this happens. I tried to come back." The loss to the Athletics was the final act in the Padilla saga as he gave up six runs in 5 1/3 lackluster innings. Padilla gave up a two-run home run to Scott Hairston in the first inning and then, two batters later, hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch. The Athletics thought it was intentional. Two innings later Michael Young was hit by a pitch by Athletics pitcher Chad Reineke. Padilla said he didn't believe the Athletics were throwing intentionally at Young. "If it was intentional why would they hit him with a 84-mph slider," Padilla said. "They wouldn't hit him with a slider. If you want to hit a guy, you don't hit with a slider." Padilla also disputed a claim that he was seen on television laughing on the bench when Young got hit. "I was laughing at Michael?" Padilla said. "That's crazy. I was in the clubhouse." Padilla has still hit 49 batters since the start of the 2006 season, tied for the most in the Major Leagues. Padilla hit Mark Teixeira twice in a game against the Yankees on June 2. The Rangers responded by putting him on outright waivers, but nobody claimed him. "They know I throw inside," Padilla said. "If I throw inside they have to move. It's natural. It doesn't matter who it is. You have to throw second or third hitters inside if it's Sammy Sosa or Barry Bonds." Padilla is 5-3 with a 4.28 ERA in nine starts since the game against the Yankees. The Rangers have 10 days to either trade him or release him. He still has to clear waivers before he can be traded to another team. Any team that claims him must pay the rest of his $12 million salary. The Rangers don't expect Padilla to be claimed. If he is not traded, the Rangers will release him. His time in Texas is over. "I had a good time," Padilla said. "The fans treated me well. I don't know what has happened this year. I never had a problem with them. I had three years with the organization. I'm going to keep training. I can pitch if I get the opportunity. They want to wash their hands of me? That's fine."