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Angels Notes: Luis Valbuena won’t stop flipping his bat

By in Press Enterprise on September 15, 2017

By Jeff Fletcher

ANAHEIM — Luis Valbuena swears that his frequent bat flips aren’t a way to show up any opponents.

He says he can’t help it.

“It’s natural,” the Angels infielder said. “I don’t do it on purpose. When you hit, I have to throw the bat. I can’t control it. I have to hit it and run.”

One of Valbuena’s bat flips created an issue on Wednesday night, when Astros right-hander Mike Fiers was offended enough by it that he threw a pitch over Valbuena’s head in his next trip to the plate.

After the game, Fiers admitted it was intentional, because he felt disrespected. On Thursday, Fiers was suspended for five games. He accepted the suspension without appeal.

“I think the league has been pretty adamant about guys sending messages,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Obviously, he took it upon himself to send a message and the league acted on it.”

Fiers declined to speak to reporters on Thursday.

“It’s OK if he hits me,” Valbuena said, “but I don’t like him throwing to my head.”

Valbuena said he considered Fiers “an unbelievable friend,” from their time together in Houston the past two seasons.

Valbuena said Fiers should know “how I can play the game,” which obviously includes flipping his bat.

“I do it every time,” he said. “If I hit a ground ball to the pitcher, I do a bat flip. I hit a fly ball to the catcher, I do a bat flip. A ground ball to second base, I do a bat flip.”

Flips like the one after his 20th homer on Wednesday night, however, come with a little extra gusto, as the emotion of the moment is added to his normal routine.

“I enjoy the game,” Valbuena said. “It’s hard to hit a home run. Hitting 20 home runs is not easy. This is only my second year hitting […]    

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