Nearly two dozen hit batsmen in the last three years. A bench-clearing brawl. And now, after the latest incident between the NL Wild West clubs, a verbal battle between close friends.

The bitter feud between San Francisco and Colorado was reignited Thursday when Giants pitcher Jose Bautista hit Andres Galarraga of the Rockies on the right arm with a pitch.It was the same arm that was broken by a pitch from San Francisco's Dave Burba last July 28, and touched off a fresh round in what is turning into one of baseball's most intense - and painful - rivalries.

"Maybe we ought to take their top three and our top three and put them in a boxing ring and let them settle it and get it all over with," Giants manager Dusty Baker said Friday.

In 23 regular-season games between the teams, 11 Giants and 10 Rockies have been hit by pitches. And that's not including the beaning of San Francisco's Robby Thompson by the Rockies in spring training last year, or Galarraga getting plunked Thursday.

The latest incident left usually low-key Colorado manager Don Baylor furious - and warning of retribution. Baylor holds the major league record of getting hit by 267 pitches.

Galarraga also warned he'll no longer tolerate getting hit, saying, "In the season, I've got to do something if they throw me inside. I've got to fight with somebody."

Baker, a close friend of Baylor, remained mystified by the uproar Friday and reiterated there was no intention of throwing at Galarraga. Baker said Galarraga, who has an open stance and lunges toward the plate, has got to learn how to avoid pitches.

"There ain't no feud on this end. There may be a feud on that end," said Baker, who has no plans to talk to Baylor before the teams next meet May 9-11 in Denver. "It's not up to me to talk to him. He's the one who issued the notice. I don't like threats."

The hostility between Colorado and San Francisco dates back to May 13, 1993, when the Rockies were just a month old. The teams had a bench-clearing brawl in Denver that day that was sparked when Colorado's Jerald Clark was hit on consecutive at-bats. Barry Bonds and his father, coach Bobby Bonds, were both ejected for San Francisco, while Clark and coach Ron Hassey were thrown out for Colorado.

Thompson was hit in the head by Mike Harkey's pitch during spring training last year. Harkey, who now is trying to make the Oakland Athletics' roster, said the beaning was unintentional, but said there's no mistaking the hostility between the Giants and Rockies.

"I found a rivalry developing, just because we were in the same division," Harkey said Friday. "Between the lines there are no friends."

Baylor and Baker have been friends since 1969, when they met in Double-A baseball, and their careers have had significant parallels - including both making their major league managing debuts in 1993.

They chatted for 15 minutes before Thursday's exhibition, but haven't talked since.

"It seems like it's always the same batters," Baylor said, "and I'm not going to tolerate that."