DETROIT -- The Tigers may have found out there's a price to pay for being the defending American League champions.
Whether it's Miguel Cabrera taking a pitch up and in from the Rays' Fernando Rodney, Torii Hunter getting hit by a pitch on the shoulder by the Blue Jays' Todd Redmond, or Prince Fielder watching the White Sox's Chris Sale fire a pitch near his head on Thursday.
"It's the Tigers, and we have a great lineup," Hunter said. "You've got Miguel, you got Prince, you got Victor [Martinez], and you got myself, and on. So the mindset is: 'Oh, I'm not intimidated by them. Let me show them that I'm going to throw them at their head.'"
Hunter signed with the Tigers in the offseason for what he saw as a strong chance to compete for a World Series. That chance, however, came with an unknown consequence.
"I've never been thrown at my head this much in my career," he said.
In the end, the Tigers have been the ones facing ejections and suspensions for their retaliations, regardless if they are intentional or unintentional.
"After [Toronto's Colby Rasmus injured Omar Infante with a hard slide], it's like everybody is able to do whatever they want to us," reliever Phil Coke said. "But if something is to go the other way, everybody gets all upset instead of the game playing itself out."
Hunter says it's a part of the game for pitchers to throw inside to keep hitters off-balance, but pitches near a batter's head can't be tolerated.
"I don't care how good you are, you can't control throwing at somebody's head," Hunter said. "The ball will fade in and knock somebody out, and their career could be crashed."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.