Valverde says he wasn't aiming at O's fan

Valverde says he wasn't aiming at O's fan

Valverde says he wasn't aiming at O's fan
DETROIT -- Jose Valverde contradicted an assertion on an Orioles fan blog that he spit on a spectator at Camden Yards on Thursday, saying he spit in the direction of a fan to chase him away after he and another man had continually yelled derogatory terms at him.

A recollection of the incident, including pictures of a wad of gum on the bullpen floor that was in Valverde's mouth when he spit, showed up on the MLBlog 2131 and Beyond, written by a fan who wrote that he witnessed the event but was not a participant.

The exchange happened in the eighth inning of Thursday's loss, but Valverde said it had been going on for much of the game, involving two fans he had been watching for much of the night.

"This guy's drinking and drinking, and he doesn't know what's going on in the game," Valverde said. "He started doing a lot of stuff, BS. The thing is, you have to sometimes leave it alone, because they pay for that. There's nothing you can do. He paid for the ticket. He can do whatever he wants to. But after a while, he ticked me off ...

"They're shouting, 'You [stink], you piece of ...' And I'm tired of that. Everybody's tired. And I tell them, 'You know what, you want to do something? Come on. Come here.' And he told me, '[Forget] you. [Forget] your mother.' He talks about my mother, and I said, 'OK. God bless you.'"

That's when Valverde said he spit "in their direction," but not on them. He didn't hit them and didn't intend to. Fellow Tigers reliever Daniel Schlereth, who saw the incident, seconded Valverde's statement. He said it would've been physically impossible to spit high enough to hit them.

"They're right on top of you," Schlereth said. "[There's] no chance. You can't spit from the mound up to the fans. There's no way."

At that point, they said, the security officer stationed in the bullpen got up and walked toward them, prompting the fans to scramble.

"The cop was there," Valverde said. "At the same time these two guys see the cop, they're running."

Nothing further happened, Valverde and Schlereth said.

Camden Yards, they said, can be a tough place for visiting pitchers because certain fans have seats close enough to get away with shouting into the bullpen.

"Yesterday was crazy," Valverde said.