Brett Carroll can't explain it, but all of a sudden the backup outfielder for the Marlins has turned into a magnet for baseballs. Carroll has been hit six times with pitches, which is a lot for someone who doesn't even play half the time. The current major league "plunk" leader is Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who has been hit eight times. But Fielder has 198 plate appearances to Carroll's 75.
Okay. So we think we know why Carroll was hit a second time on Sunday. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was incensed that Carroll had stolen second base after being hit with a pitch in the fourth inning, with the Marlins up 7-0, and made sure the deed didn't go unpunished. So when Carroll came up in the fifth, he was whacked again, apparently on purpose.
Still, even eliminating that planned attack, Carroll would still rank among the top 10 in the majors this season in being hit by pitches. Carroll was hit five times total in 244 major- and minor-league at bats last season. But he has had a propensity for getting hit in the past. He was hit 17 times in 2006 while splitting time between Single A Jupiter and Double A Carolina, and was hit 15 times at Single A Greensboro in 2005. The Marlins' single-single season record belongs to Carlos Delgado, who was smacked 17 times in 2005, meaning that -- yes -- Carroll is on pace to break the record, astonishing considering his lack of playing time.
Carroll said he doesn't go to the plate trying to get hit.
"I'm not trying to pull a Roger Dorn, where he goes up to pinch hit just to get hit so he can get on base and start a rally," Carroll said, referring to the fictional character from the movie "Major League." "I believe I can hit. I don't need to be going up there trying to get hit by pitches."
Then again, Carroll doesn't exactly go to extreme measures to avoid being hit when the pitch is headed in his direction.
Carroll theorizes that one of the reasons for his high rate of HBPs is because he often bats in the eighth spot. With the pitcher due up next, opposing pitchers could be trying to work around him. Otherwise, he said he "can't explain it."
"I think I usually get hit about the normal amount," Carroll said. "Nothing abnormal like this."
Major League Leaders in Plunkings This Season
Player Plate Apps. HBP
1. Prince Fielder (Mil) 198 8
2. Travis Hafner (Cle) 160 7
Rickie Weeks (Mil) 210 7
4. Brett Carroll (Fla) 75 6
Mike Napoli (LAA) 122 6
6. Jose Guillen (K.C.) 189 5
Juan Pierre (CWS) 188 5
David Eckstein (S.D.) 174 5
Marlon Byrd (Cubs) 184 5
Kevin Youkilis (Bos) 194 5