Quintero leaves after collision
Astros catcher steamrolled but makes play at plate
HOUSTON -- Humberto Quintero left the Astros-Brewers game on Friday in the fourth inning with a strained right shoulder after he collided with Mike Cameron on a play at the plate.
J.J. Hardy singled to right field, and Cameron, attempting to score from second, pummeled Quintero without sliding. Quintero, who made a perfect catch on one-hopper from Hunter Pence, fell to the ground and rolled several times, but he hung onto the ball for the out.
Quintero and Cameron both lay on the ground for several minutes, each attended by his team's athletic trainers and manager. Both eventually walked off on their own, with Cameron receiving hearty boos from the crowd.
Inside the Astros' clubhouse, the players did not seem to think Cameron's play was a dirty one, including Quintero.
"I think it was the right play, because I was blocking the plate and he didn't have anywhere to go," Quintero said. "That's why he hit me."
"I don't think it was that cheap a shot," manager Cecil Cooper said. "The guy's standing right on the plate. You've got to hit him. That's what you've got to do. You have to jar the ball loose. I don't think it was a dirty play."
Geoff Blum, a former teammate of Cameron, said he had never known the Brewers outfield to be the kind of player who would purposely injure an opponent. As far as being aggressive, however, "that's what he does," Blum said.
"He's never been a guy to shy away from contact," Blum continued. "The throw beat him by a mile, and you can say 20 different things. That fact of the matter is 'Q' made a great play, ultimately, I think. They both paid the price."
Blum also acknowledged that Cameron's intentions would understandably be questioned.
"I had the angle down the third-base line where Cammy was running," Blum said. "For me, personally, if I see a catcher moving to the outside, I'm going to try and go inside and score the run. I'm not worried about trying to hit the guy, once it's a bang-bang play and he's standing right on top of the plate. But that's me. I'm not Mike.
"I think Mike is a good, hard aggressive player. I don't think he's a dirty player at all. He's going to play hard. He went in hard. Q being a catcher, he knew what he was in for and took the blow and unfortunately it knocked him out of the game. It was a great play by Q."
Carlos Lee, who homered in the bottom of that inning, also didn't believe that Cameron's play was dirty.
"It's kind of hard to look at it from different points of view, being a runner and being a teammate," he said. "As a runner, you want to do everything possible to try to knock that ball down out of the catcher. It's one of the plays that's too close to call."
Even though he made a perfect play, Quintero said he did not know initially if he had actually caught the ball.
"I looked in my glove and the ball was in there," he said. "I put the glove up, and [the umpire] called him out."
Quintero was later spotted in the dugout holding his right shoulder. He warmed up Felipe Paulino in the fifth inning but was replaced by Pudge Rodriguez.
Quintero, who knocked his shoulder and his head on the ground during the collision, said he would arrive early to the ballpark the next day to test the shoulder, but he doesn't believe he'll be out of commission for any period of time.
"I'm going to be fine," he said. "I'll put something on the shoulder tonight and I'll be fine."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.