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Guthrie answers Girardi's questions about plunking Yankees

The most interesting part of Saturday's 11-3 pounding of the Orioles by the New York Yankees probably occurred with the game's first pitch.

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie plunked Yankees' leadoff hitter Derek Jeter in the left elbow (and not bat, by the way).

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It was the 45th time Guthrie has faced Jeter in his career – the most plate appearances against Guthrie by any big leaguer – and the first time Guthrie has ever hit Jeter.

But it was the 10th time Guthrie has plunked a Yankee in the 15 games he has pitched against them. That doesn't include a preseason contest on March 29 of this year when Guthrie hit two more (Mark Teixeira and Francisco Cervelli).

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Guthrie has now plunked 37 batters in his career and 10 of them have been Yankees in 15 games. In comparison, he's also pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox 15 times. He's hit one player each from both of those teams.

After the 10 plunked Yankees, the next team he has hit the most is the Chicago White Sox, five hit batters in 10 games.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn't amused about Guthrie's propensity to hit Yankees.

"Too many, just too many," Girardi said. "I just really don't understand it and I know he likes to pitch inside, but it's too many. And that doesn't include the ones in spring training."

For the record, Guthrie is second in the American League with 14 hit batters this season. The only pitcher with more is one of Girardi's starters, A.J. Burnett, who has hit 16.

And Guthrie made that point to my Sun colleague Jeff Zrebiec after he was informed of Girardi's statement.

"He understands that he has a great pitcher over there in A.J. that his hit more guys than I have," Guthrie told Zrebiec. "I watch and appreciate the aggressive nature that A.J. takes in throwing to both sides of the plate and I think I'm a similar pitcher. One of the occupational hazards when you do that is you are occasionally going to hit some guys, but you can't let that affect what you do. Hitting guys intentionally is something totally different, but pitching inside has to be part of what I do to be effective."

He also added this:

"The most important thing for me is to listen and take advice from my own manager, Buck Showalter, and not to worry about the other 29 managers and what they have to say about my pitching."

Guthrie said during his post-game press conference that his command was off all game, and it started with that first pitch.

"Just trying to go inside. Derek knows I am going to throw the ball in there all day long, that's the way I approach it," Guthrie said. "So I guess it was a good indicator when I tried to throw the pitches away later on in the game they went inside and when I tried to throw that one inside it went way inside. So it's just a matter of not having great command tonight."

For his part, Jeter called Guthrie "effectively wild" and said he "didn't read anything into" being hit in the first.

"I haven't been counting (how many Yankees Guthrie has plunked)," Jeter said. "But, no, I don't think he hit me on purpose."

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