Benintendi: 'You don’t want to come off as that arrogant guy that nobody likes'

Benintendi: 'You don’t want to come off as that arrogant guy that nobody likes'

Typically, being boisterous and showboating will earn a young player a cocky reputation.

It’s been the opposite for 22-year-old Andrew Benintendi.

A dislike for the spotlight, some bland quotes in the media and a generally shy personality have combined to make the Red Sox outfielder appear arrogant to some.

“Yeah, I’ve heard it before, where I come off as kind of put-offish,” Benintendi said. “But that’s just kind of how I am, I guess. Not a big talker. I guess it has been misinterpreted that way. Definitely not trying to be a, you know -- it might just come off that way.”

Benintendi is absolutely a confident character and player. 

At the same time, he isn’t dour. A product of Ohio and the Midwest, he visibly enjoys the game. He’s not hard to find smiling, nor is he abrasive in conversation. The opposite really: soft spoken and pleasant.

But he doesn’t engage with anyone and everyone. And he doesn’t say much when he does engage. If he walks into a room full of strangers, he’s not the life of the party.

“I’ll keep to myself,” Benintendi said. “I don’t want to step on any toes or anything like that, especially last year coming up and not knowing anybody, so. Just go about my business and keep to myself.”

In general, he considers himself shy. He acknowledged he doesn’t like the spotlight, while knowing it’s not going anywhere in Boston.

“I like to just go about my business,” Benintendi said. “Which, I understand (the spotlight) comes with it. Just have to deal with it.”

He’s getting better at it, too. When he was first called up, he said he tried to treat it just like Double-A Portland or his time at the University of Arkansas.

This spring, he seems more at ease than he did with the big league team last season.

“I just don’t like usually talking about myself,” Benintendi said. “I’d rather keep it on the team.”

In part, that’s because for a long time, the media has always wanted to talk more about him.

“I’ve been fortunate (that at) high school, college, I’ve performed really well,” Benintendi said. “There’s always just people asking me questions. I just try to be humble and try to not talk about myself, so. I think it is how I was raised. Because you don’t want to come off as that arrogant guy that nobody likes. That’s just how I was raised.

“I’ve been through, I feel like all of it through these last couple of years. I’m used to it. You know I feel like every, all the different reporters, whatever, essentially ask the same questions. So, you just got to repeat yourself.”

Not all questions are the same, though.

“No, this is a first,” Benintendi said.

Orioles closer Zach Britton takes shot at Dustin Pedroia's leadership

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Orioles closer Zach Britton takes shot at Dustin Pedroia's leadership

Understandably, Zach Britton just wants to be a part of the action.

On a contentious day where the Orioles and Red Sox both sounded like reasonable people once a 6-2 Sox win was over, one player had to spout off for no reason.

Britton, the dominant Orioles closer, on Sunday suggested to BaltimoreBaseball.com that Dustin Pedroia doesn’t have a grasp of the Red Sox clubhouse, because Pedroia didn’t stop a teammate from attempting to retaliate on Pedroia’s behalf.

“Dustin, him telling Manny (Machado), ‘Hey, that (pitch) didn’t come from me’ may be even more frustrating,” Britton told reporter Dan Connolly. “Because he’s the leader of that clubhouse and if he can’t control his own teammates, then there’s a bigger issue over there.”

Machado dodged a high pitch from Matt Barnes on Sunday, two days after Machado spiked Pedroia with a slide. 

From the dugout Sunday — he couldn't play because the slide injured him — Pedroia yelled over to Machado to make clear he didn’t ask for retaliation. (LINK:http://www.csnne.com/boston-red-sox/evan-drellich-boston-red-sox-baltimore-orioles-should-leave-manny-machado-dustin-pedroia-feud-past)

Pedroia on Sunday said he loved Machado and apologized to the Orioles. Barnes apologized as well.

Britton elaborated on his view of leadership that Pedroia did not exhibit.

“As a player that doesn’t have the most service time in this room, when a guy like Adam Jones tells me to do something or not to do something, I’m going to do (what he says). Same with Chris Davis or Darren O’Day, the guy in my bullpen,” Britton said. “If they tell me, ‘Don’t do this or that,’ I’m going to listen to them because they’ve been around the game and they’ve seen things I haven’t seen. And you respect their leadership.”

One potential positive for both sides: Britton indicated the Orioles may see this as a dead issue going forward, if the Sox don’t instigate something further. Although, it’s hard to fathom why the Sox would.

“That’s up to them. Well see what they do in Boston,” Britton told BaltimoreBaseball.com. “I think we’ve talked about it already, as a team, and we’ll see how they choose to act — whether or not they choose to act professionally or unprofessionally when we get to Boston.”

Drellich: Red Sox, Orioles should leave Machado-Pedroia feud in past

Drellich: Red Sox, Orioles should leave Machado-Pedroia feud in past

Dustin Pedroia, still injured, apologized for something he didn’t do. 

Matt Barnes, trying to protect his injured teammate in barbaric baseball tradition, apologized for something he did do.

Pedroia then went as far as to say he loved — loved! — Manny Machado, who has maintained innocence in this dust-up all along, even on Sunday.

This episode of Red Sox-Orioles anger should die here, after any presumed discipline the league finds suitable for Barnes is delivered.

There’s a four-game set starting May 1 between these two at Fenway Park, and the reset button should be hit before then.

In a clear attempt at retribution for Machado spiking Pedroia two games earlier, Barnes threw at Machado in the eighth inning of a 6-2 Sox win Sunday at Camden Yards.

The pitch actually wound up a foul ball, but was way too close to Machado’s head — and no one pretended otherwise.

“That’s bull (crap),” Pedroia was caught on camera yelling from the dugout at Machado after the pitch.

Pedroia was telling Machado they actually shared the same view: that what Pedroia’s teammate Barnes did was wrong.

That the outcome was wrong, specifically.

“He’s not trying to hit Manny in the head,” Pedroia told reporters after the game. “It’s just a bad situation man.

“I'm sorry to him and his team. If you're going to protect guys, you do it right away. … There was zero intention of (Machado) trying to hurt me. He just made a bad slide. He did hurt me. It's baseball, man. I'm not mad at him. I love Manny Machado. I love playing against him. I love watching him. If I slid into third base and got Manny's knee, I know I'm going to get drilled. That's baseball. I get drilled, and I go to first base. That's it."

Barnes denied he was trying to hit Machado, but everyone knows otherwise. The Sox tried to even the score with Machado and the O’s on Sunday and failed dangerously.

Considering how the Sox responded immediately; considering how Barnes and Pedroia both apologized, Pedroia profusely; considering Pedroia is the one who’s hurt, and Machado was — thankfully — not hit with the terribly placed pitch; this should be the end of it.

“It’s a short term memory that we need to have and that’s what we’re going to do here,” Machado told reporters Sunday.

Let’s see if that holds true on both sides.

Barnes’ pitch hit Machado, but only on a ricochet. It caught the bat extended over Machado’s right shoulder instead, strangely creating a foul ball that bounced off the bat and into Machado’s back. 

Machado proceeded to double off the the next pitcher, Joe Kelly, who entered because Barnes was ejected.

Pedroia’s going for tests on his knee and ankle on Monday, three days after Machado spiked him. He still hasn’t played since that slide.

A pitch to the head is much more threatening than a spike to the leg. It’s also harder to fathom a pitch to the head being made with any form of intent.

Machado never apologized publicly, although he has tried to make clear that what he did was unintentional. 

He and Pedroia communicated by text Friday and Sunday.

“I wasn't expecting anything, no,” Machado told reporters Sunday of retaliation. “I thought I did a good slide. Everyone saw the replay, they know on that slide, that's on them whatever happened today. I'm going to keep doing me, keep playing baseball.

“I'm going to respect Pedey to the end of this day. I look up to a guy like that.”

Machado maintaining he made a good slide is a little out of tune while the Sox sat there and apologized. Intentional or not, Machado made a bad slide, his foot high in the air.

Note, too, that Pedroia said he’d expect to get drilled if he spiked Machado — while Machado said he expected nothing. 

Tit for tat clearly remains standard operating procedure, without regard for player safety.

O’s manager Buck Showalter praised the “courage” his team had not to escalate everything, although a more appropriate word would have been discipline. Showalter’s right: a pitch in the area of head is not the kind of thing that’s easy to ignore.

But Machado, who once threw a bat at Fernando Abad, knows what his reputation is in this game.

“They think I’m the villain. It’s always me,” Machado told reporters Sunday. “Manny always does something wrong.”

On Sunday, he did it right. He stayed calm when the Red Sox wronged him. That’s commendable. 

Maybe everyone can do it right going forward.