Hughes, Phillips talk, clear air after Monday night spat

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CINCINNATI -- Jared Hughes and Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips spoke before the game Tuesday to discuss their confrontation in the eighth inning Monday night.

Hughes hit Phillips with a pitch in the leg, and Phillips tossed the ball back toward the mound. Hughes shouted at Phillips as Phillips walked down the baseline, but the incident did not escalate.

After the 14-inning game concluded, Phillips sent a tweet that implied he heard a racist remark from one of the Pirates. He did not specify Hughes, nor did he specify what he heard.

Hughes said Phillips texted Andrew McCutchen with his wish to speak to Hughes, who agreed, and the two spoke on the phone Tuesday. Hughes would not disclose what was said on the field; after the game, he said he took exception to Phillips tossing the ball back to the mound.

"What I can say is that I've got a ton of respect for Brandon Phillips as a man and as a ballplayer," Hughes said. "I grew up watching him play, and, when I was in the minors, I always really enjoyed watching him play. Even though he was a Red, I still think he's a tremendous player and a tremendous man. Brandon and I, we did talk, and we just told each other how much we respect each other as men."

"It was great to hear what he had to say and him to hear what I had to say," Phillips told the Cincinnati media. "It made us both feel better about the situation. I respect him as a player and a man from the conversation we had.

"It was just a big misunderstanding. When you say certain things in the heat of the moment, you really don't mean it. You forgive people. He forgave me. I forgive him. It's the baseball family. I love him as a brother."

Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates collected information on the incident and spoke to the people involved, but did not address the matter with the team.

"I think one of our great abilities is communication," Hurdle said. "When parties are involved, the best communication, clear, clean and accurate communication, is between those parties that are involved. We live in a society now where all other things can get involved."

Karstens steps up workouts

Jeff Karstens said he felt good after throwing 30 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday afternoon.

"It was just more to go back out there and test it," Karstens said. "It's one of those things we're going to take day by day."

Karstens left his previous start Aug. 31 after one-third of an inning because of pain in his right hip. He allowed four runs on five hits in that start and said after the first couple hits he reared back to throw harder.

"As soon as I did that was when I aggravated it," he said.

He said he tried to increase the intensity of his workouts Tuesday.

"For me today it was getting long toss, where I have to really drive off that back leg and do some things," he said. "I think I covered first base six times. I tried to do it every time they swung no matter where the ball was hit. Just trying to cover first to make sure my reactions are still good."

Hurdle said the team would see how Karstens feels today before deciding his next step.

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