Padres’ Luke Voit collides with Reds’ Tyler Stephenson at plate, tensions boil


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San Diego Padres base runner Luke Voit came under fire after a collision with Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson in a play at the plate in the first inning of the Padres’ 6-2 win Tuesday.

Voit slammed into Stephenson’s head as he tried to score from first base on a Jurickson Profar double. Somehow, Stephenson held onto the ball for the out but left the game with a concussion.

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Luke Voit of the San Diego Padres (foreground) collides with Tyler Stephenson of the Cincinnati Reds at home plate during the second inning of a game at Petco Park April 19, 2022, in San Diego. Voit was out on the play.
(Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

San Diego manager Bob Melvin defended the play.

“The ball takes him right into Luke,” he said. “There’s nowhere to go, and I think Luke was just trying to protect himself putting his hands up. I think they got it right.”

But Reds players were not happy.

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, left, tags out the San Diego Padres' Luke Voit, who was trying to score from first off a double by Jurickson Profar during the first inning of a game Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in San Diego.

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, left, tags out the San Diego Padres’ Luke Voit, who was trying to score from first off a double by Jurickson Profar during the first inning of a game Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in San Diego.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

“Not too often you see a runner slide and grab someone’s head and slam it to the ground like that,” Reds shortstop Kyler Farmer told reporters after the game, via ESPN. “You’re usually trying to reach for the bag. Maybe that’s what he was trying to do. After looking at the replay, it looked like a wrestling move to Tyler’s head and snapped it down.”

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Reds outfielder Tommy Pham called the play “dirty.”

“I don’t like it at all. The way his hands hit him in the face, it was dirty. If Luke wants to settle it, I get down really well,” Pham said. “Anything, Muay Thai, whatever. I’ve got a (gym) owner here who will let me use his facility.”

Voit explained the play after the game, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“I wasn’t trying to take him out or anything. I guess my elbow kind of just smoked his head a little bit. I hope he’s all right,” Voit said. “I mean, it ended up being a good throw, and the ball kind of took him in, and I tried to go around him. … I’m actually honestly surprised that he held on to it. It was pretty impressive.

A Cincinnati Reds official examines catcher Tyler Stephenson, after he was injured tagging out the San Diego Padres' Luke Voit at home during the first inning of a game Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in San Diego.

A Cincinnati Reds official examines catcher Tyler Stephenson, after he was injured tagging out the San Diego Padres’ Luke Voit at home during the first inning of a game Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in San Diego.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

“It was 250 pounds coming right at him. I mean, it’s baseball. I wasn’t trying to make it dirty or anything. Just trying to make a play, obviously. … Once I hit third, it’s like, ‘Here I go.’ I know it’s gonna be a close play. You obviously have no idea where the ball is gonna be. It just happens. I tried to avoid, tried to be safe and that play ended up happening.”

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The umpires ruled the slide was clean. If it was illegal, Profar would’ve been sent back to second base. He advanced to third on the relay throw.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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