PITTSBURGH - Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies may be the first pitcher to be suspended for being dumb.
Hamels drilled Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch in Sunday night's game, earning a five-game suspension.
Hamels probably would have escaped without a penalty if he hadn't told the truth.
He said he hit Harper on purpose.
"I was trying to hit him," Hamels said. "I'm not going to deny it."
You can give him points for his honesty. Major League Baseball gave him a five-game suspension for it.
"It's just, welcome to the big leagues," Hamels said.
Harper is 19, a highly-regarded prospect. He's rubbed some people the wrong way because he seems to be quite pleased with himself.
It's not unusual for a pitcher to knock a too-confident hitter down, or even hit him with a fastball.
But it's unprecedented to admit it.
When Jim Leyland managed the Pirates, his pitchers were under orders to say, "It got away from me" when a pitch got too close to a hitter.
It wasn't always the truth, but at least it established the possibility of some doubt.
Hamels stood up to Harper, then stood up to the questions about what he did.
Honesty wasn't the best policy in this case.
Are things turning?
Plenty of people are frustrated by the Pirates' lack of offense through the first month of the season.
But they're hardly the only team struggling with the bats.
There are exceptions, of course, but generally it looks like pitching is ahead of hitting throughout the major leagues to this point.
Maybe it was in the steroids era, but hitters all started swinging for the fences. That includes people who aren't home run hitters.
When was the last time you saw a major league hitter who choked up on the bat and focused just on making contact?
That used to be a successful method for at least a few hitters on each team.
Now it's all big swings, and plenty of misses.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org