Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis told CBSSports.com on Tuesday that injured pitcher Zack Greinke has apologized to him for not informing him about his personal history with Carlos Quentin and that, had he known, he would have been alert for a possible incident.
Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone when he was tackled by Quentin last Thursday after hitting the San Diego Padres outfielder with a pitch. The right-hander had surgery on Saturday and is expected to return in approximately eight weeks. Quentin is currently serving an eight-game suspension.
Ellis told CBSSports.com that he has spoken with Greinke by telephone since the incident. This is the first season Ellis and Greinke have been teammates. Greinke is in his first season with the Dodgers after signing a $147 million, six-year contract with the team in the offseason.
"He actually apologized to me for not telling me ahead of time that there was potential for a personal vendetta," Ellis told the website. "Everything I heard from the Padres players afterward was that this was destined to happen.
"Carlos can say what he wants to say about Zack's body language. But any of this talk about how nothing would have happened without Zack saying something, that's not true."
Quentin claims that Greinke said something to him after hitting him with the pitch, which caused him to charge the mound.
Greinke now has hit Quentin three times with a pitch, with the last before this season coming in 2009. Quentin is the only batter Greinke has hit three times, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Quentin led the majors in hit by pitches in both 2011 (23) and 2012 (17). He's been hit 116 times in his career (seventh-most among active players).
Ellis told the website that he has "taken a beating publicly," referring to messages he has received on Twitter, but his "conscience is clear." He has second-guessed himself since the game, wondering, "could I have done something different?"
Ellis' glove was set up away when Quentin was hit by the pitch, which was an inside fastball.
"Carlos didn't know where I was," Ellis told the website. "I think had he known, maybe he would have understood that the ball got away from Zack.
"Since he didn't, and now, knowing the personal history between him and Zack with the White Sox and Royals, I would have been more overt and aware regardless of the situation in the game."
Greinke said after the game that he didn't mean to hit Quentin.
"I never thought about hitting him on purpose. He always seems to think that I'm hitting him on purpose, but that's not the case. That's all I can really say about it," he said.
Dodgers bench coach Trey Hillman, who was Greinke's manager with the Kansas City Royals, told the website that he spoke with Quentin when the outfielder was with the Chicago White Sox and let him know that Greinke wasn't targeting him in the past when the pitcher had hit him.
Hillman said to his knowledge, Greinke hadn't hit Quentin intentionally when he was pitching for the Royals.
"Did I have any knowledge that it was on purpose? Absolutely not," he told the website. "I'm not going to say a manager knows everything. But things almost always get back to the manager."
Hillman told CBSSports.com that he has been supportive of Ellis.
"I told A.J., 'I understand your guilt, but you did get caught very off guard. That, for you, in the position you play, is a big mistake. That is something you never will allow to happen again,'" Hillman told the website.