Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah responds to Alex Verdugo's criticism: 'I don't give a sh--'

Manoah's next start against the Red Sox should be an absolute spectacle.

Red Sox star Alex Verdugo is clearly not the biggest fan of Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah. (Getty)

Toronto Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah is widely known for his overt intensity on the mound, but not everyone adores his fiery actions, including Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo.

Verdugo, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts blockbuster, has shared the AL East Division with Manoah for nearly two years and is seemingly taking a stand against the 2022 All-Star over an incident that occurred last season.

The 26-year-old spoke recently on the Baseball Isn’t Boring podcast, claiming the Blue Jays hurler acted disrespectfully after striking out Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec during Toronto’s 4-1 victory last July. Thus, he doesn’t believe Manoah is playing the game the right way.

“If it's a genuine reaction and it’s for the boys, not directed towards somebody, then yeah (it’s fine),” Verdugo said. “Like I’ll say it right now, I think Alek Manoah goes about it the wrong way, 100 percent I think he does. You can find videos of him, footage of him in Triple-A going like this to hitters. Last year, telling Franchy and Bobby like go sit, s**t like that and looking right at them.”

“So it’s like, s**t like that just pisses me off. It’s not the way it should be played. It should be played like you’re celebrating it with your team, you’re not f*****g disrespecting another player who is — at the end of the day we’re just trying to compete, that’s it.”

Manoah received backlash from the Red Sox in that game following heated exchanges with Cordero and Dalbec, although cooler heads did prevail. Verdugo, however, still appears to be holding on to the situation several months later.

Manoah was asked about Verdugo's comments before Tuesday's game against the Kansas City Royals and had a concise response.

“Coming from him? I don’t give a s**t," Manoah told Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. "My job is to pitch and get guys out.”

The 25-year-old Jays pitcher also made waves last August following a hit-by-pitch to New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, prompting Gerrit Cole to come to his teammate’s defence. While Judge remained composed, the five-time All-Star left the dugout to confront Manoah.

Cole didn’t get past the Audi on-field ad, as the Blue Jays pitcher pointed out, but that didn’t stop Manoah from adding to the fire post-game, intensifying a rivalry that remains strong in 2023.

The Blue Jays and Yankees will meet for the first time this season during a three-game set in the Bronx later this month. If Toronto’s struggling rotation remains intact, Manoah would start the middle game of that series.

Verdugo, meanwhile, won’t square off against the Blue Jays until May, when the two franchises kick off the month with a four-game series at Fenway Park.