'Dirty as (expletive)': Tommy Pham, Reds upset at Luke Voit slide injuring Tyler Stephenson

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SAN DIEGO – The longer Tommy Pham spoke about Luke Voit's collision with Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, which gave Stephenson a concussion, the more upset he became.

The collision happened in the first inning when Voit tried to score from first base on Jurickson Profar's double into the left-field corner. A relay throw from shortstop Kyle Farmer took Stephenson to the right-handed batter's box, and Voit ran into Stephenson in front of the plate. The collision knocked off Stephenson's mask and helmet, though he held onto the ball for the out.

"The way his hands hit him, it was dirty as (expletive)," Pham said. "I don't like it at all. The way his hands hit him in the face, it was dirty. If Luke wants to settle it, I get down really well. Anything, Muay Thai, whatever. I've got a (gym) owner here who will let me use his facility. So, (expletive) 'em."

Game story: Reds add insult to injury, lose Tyler Stephenson and eighth straight game

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Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, left, tags out San Diego Padres' Luke Voit, trying to score from first off a double by Jurickson Profar during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in San Diego.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, left, tags out San Diego Padres' Luke Voit, trying to score from first off a double by Jurickson Profar during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in San Diego.

Voit, a former catcher, insisted he tried to avoid contact with Stephenson and hoped he was OK. Reds players took issue with how Voit's right hand pushed Stephenson's head to the ground.

"I don't like it all," said Pham, who played with Voit in St. Louis in 2017. "They can say what they want. Everybody on that side, they know I get down. I know a place here. I know an owner who will let me use his gym if we need to settle anything. ... That play was dirty."

Padres manager Bob Melvin said Voit had nowhere to go because the throw put Stephenson into Voit's path, "I think Luke was just trying to protect himself, putting his hands up."

Stephenson sustained a concussion from the play and will be placed on the 7-day concussion list. He was unavailable to speak to reporters afterward because he was in the concussion protocol, but he wrote on Twitter, "Only thing that matters is he was out."

"Not too often you see a runner slide, grab someone’s head and slam it to the ground like that," Farmer said. "You’re usually trying to reach for the bag. Maybe that’s what he was trying to do. After looking at the replay, it looked like a wrestling move to Tyler’s head and snapped it down."

Apr 19, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; A Cincinnati Reds trainer checks on catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) after a collision at home plate with San Diego Padres designated hitter Luke Voit (not pictured) during the first inning at Petco Park.
Apr 19, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; A Cincinnati Reds trainer checks on catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) after a collision at home plate with San Diego Padres designated hitter Luke Voit (not pictured) during the first inning at Petco Park.

The Reds lost their replay review challenge about whether the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Voit initiated an avoidable collision. If the Reds won the challenge, it would've sent Profar back to second base after he advanced to third on the throw to the plate.

"It looked like (Voit) was trying to make another move to the other side of the plate, maybe that's what he'll say," Farmer said. "I’ve caught before and it’s a scary play, especially when you have a big guy like Voit coming down. I’ve never really seen someone’s hands go to a catcher’s head on a slide."

Said Reds manager David Bell: "It’s a helpless feeling when one of your players gets hit in the head and they’re laying there. It’s scary for me. I may have just reacted (with the challenge) and it felt like the only thing I could do. ... I thought it could’ve been an illegal slide. That doesn’t mean that Voit did it intentionally."

The Reds and Padres will complete their three-game series at Petco Park on Wednesday, and then they will play a three-game series at Great American Ball Park next week.

"I’m not too happy about the slide," Farmer said. "There were some things after you watch the replay that happened. We’re going to take a second look and see. We’ll go from there."

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Tommy Pham, Reds upset at Luke Voit for injuring Tyler Stephenson