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Mets Notebook: Pete Alonso, Buck Showalter not motivated to retaliate after Braves righty plunked slugger

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Pete Alonso was back in the Mets lineup one day after getting hit with a pitch right below the ear Saturday night by Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jose Soriano. With Alonso healthy, the argument over whether or not the Mets should enact some sort of retribution for the 84 times they’ve been beaned by other pitchers has died down somewhat, but that can’t last long.

The question the Mets are grappling with is intent: If it wasn’t intentional, why should they retaliate?

“Good question,” Alonso said Sunday afternoon at Citi Field. “Beat ‘em the next day, or beat ‘em that night.”

Fans might not want to hear it, but the Mets aren’t motivated to retaliate, and they’re not alone in this philosophy. An eye-for-an-eye doesn’t work when pitchers aren’t trying to hit people. The Mets insist that the blame lies in the game’s desire for velocity. Throwing 97-100 is the norm these days, so hard-throwing pitchers are often rushed through the minor leagues and promoted without much refinement. They’re still raw by the time they get to the big leagues and lack the control needed to throw up and in without plunking hitters.

“Everybody is chasing velocity now. Everyone in the game. Their bullpen, other bullpens,” a visibly angry Buck Showalter said Saturday night. “With that comes lack of command. With that comes people getting hit. It’s not good for the game. Everybody keeps chasing this and it’s a byproduct of it. When you throw like that and you throw inside there, you’re not necessarily trying to hit somebody but you’re taking that chance of hitting people like that.

“Somewhere along the line, there’s got to something to pay for that, whether it be from the league office or somebody, but you’re seeing it every night. These guys are ducking 100 miles per hour fastballs all over baseball and especially Pete.”

Alonso has the same view.

“Guys are throwing harder and faster,” Alonso said. “When you do that, teams incentivize guys to have better stuff as opposed to more command. That’s just, unfortunately, a product of it. That’s just a part of the game now and it’s unfortunate because it’s at the expense of hitters that step in the box.”

Alonso had no plans to retaliate since it was clearly an off-speed pitch that got away from him. It was simply an accident. Despite the fact that Alonso himself has been hit an NL-leading 17 times, the team still doesn’t see it necessary to hit other hitters to send a message unless they perceive malice behind the plunking.

Alonso spent time on the injured list earlier this season after he was hit by Atlanta Braves starter Charlie Morton, who sought out Alonso to apologize. Morton expressed remorse for the mistake, so the Mets felt no need to hit a player of comparable importance like Ronald Acuña Jr. or Matt Olson.

“It goes both ways, we’ve hit guys — not on purpose — as well,” said shortstop Francisco Lindor. “We’re just trying to be safe.”

The reality is that this is a different generation of players that have little use for some of baseball’s archaic unwritten rules. In recent seasons, there have been controversies with the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals when it comes to beanball wars. The last thing the Mets want is to start one and become the center of yet another controversy.

“I don’t have the answer,” Lindor said. “It’s one of those where, I could take it as, ‘Yeah, let’s hit him.’ Or I could take it as, ‘No, don’t hit nobody. Let the game speak for itself.’ But I don’t know the right answer.”

Alonso doesn’t seem to know it either, but it doesn’t sound as though the Mets are about to change their minds on this anytime soon.

“It’s a consequence of playing the game,” Alonso said. “Baseball can be dangerous. Every time you go out on the field you can get hurt. I’m happy that I didn’t have a concussion and I was happy I was able to play today.”

ROSTER MOVES

Carlos Carrasco’s short outing Saturday night forced the Mets to bring in a fresh bullpen arm, but it came at the expense of a reliever who has performed well in recent weeks. Right-hander Jeff Brigham was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday morning and left-hander Adam Kolarek was designated for assignment to make room. Infielder Mark Vientos was activated from the injured list and Abraham Almonte was designated for assignment in a corresponding transaction.

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