MESA, Ariz. -- This is not how Chicago Cubs pitcher Corey Black wants to make a name for himself. Until now, he’s mostly been known for being the player the Cubs received from the New York Yankees after finally trading outfielder Alfonso Soriano in 2013.
But then came the Cubs Cactus League opener Thursday when Black nailed San Francisco Giants popular outfielder Hunter Pence with a fastball in the Giants' eventual 8-6 win. Pence broke his arm, shelving him for 6-8 weeks.
“It’s an unfortunate accident,” Black said Friday morning. “It’s a bad way to start. Today is a new day. You just have to forget about it.”
Black was 6-7 with a 3.47 ERA for Double-A Tennessee in 2014, starting 25 games. He’ll begin this season at Triple-A Iowa, but first he has to get past hurting one of the heroes of the Giants' championship team from last season. Social media wasn’t all kind to him Thursday night after he sent an apologetic tweet to Pence.
“There were a lot of negative things, but a lot of Giants fans were kind of shocked I apologized like that,” Black said. “There’s always two or three people that are going to have their negative comments.”
Pence and Black share the same agent, so Black hopes to reach out to Pence through them for a one-on-one conversation at some point. For now, Black knows that injuries are part of the game and isn’t happy with his control in his debut performance. He walked two batters before hitting Pence.
“When you hurt someone, it’s completely different,” he said. “I’ll try to change people’s minds with what I do on the mound.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon told Black not to worry about the incident.
"I said, 'Don't you dare worry about any of that,'" Maddon said. "That's part of the game. It's awful when it happens. He wasn't trying to do that. That's just part of the game of baseball. I know he feels badly about it.
"I know if it was me, I would not need an apology. I signed up to play baseball."
Black expressed his regret via Twitter on Thursday night, and Pence accepted Black's condolences Friday morning, tweeting:
@CblackCHC It happens my friend. Thanks for the concern, it's a part of the game we love. No slowing down!
— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) March 6, 2015