MLB: Odor has no regrets, expects suspension
Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor said Monday that he doesn't regret punching Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista in the face during Sunday's benches-clearing brawl between the two teams."I can tell when someone is coming hard t...
Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor said Monday that he doesn’t regret punching Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista in the face during Sunday’s benches-clearing brawl between the two teams.
“I can tell when someone is coming hard to second base, so I was just trying to protect myself,” Odor said of the punch that led to the ejections of both players.
Major League Baseball has not yet handed down any punishments for the incident, but Odor expects to be disciplined.
“I know I’m going to be suspended for a couple of games,” Odor said.
Joe Torre, the league’s chief baseball officer, said a ruling may come as soon as Tuesday.
“Obviously we’re going to be issuing discipline,” Torre said Monday.
Odor took offense to Bautista’s hard slide into second base in the eighth inning and confronted Bautista, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning by Rangers reliever Matt Bush.
“I was pretty surprised,” Bautista said after the game about Odor’s punch. “I mean, obviously, that’s the only reason that he got me, and he got me pretty good, so I have to give him that. It takes a little bit bigger man to knock me down.”
After the initial chaos settled, Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez hit the Rangers’ Prince Fielder with another pitch, causing the dugouts to empty for a second time.
The contest featured eight ejections.
Texas won the game, 7-6.
The incident stems back to Bautista’s emphatic bat flip after his go-ahead home run in Game 5 of last year’s American League Divisional Series between Toronto and Texas, which the Blue Jays won in five games.
Bautista had the big hit for the Blue Jays on Sunday and took the big hit, too.
Bautista, who was booed in every at-bat during the series, hit a three-run double in the sixth that gave Toronto a 5-2 lead over the Texas Rangers. He was then punched by Texas’ Rougned Odor in the seventh inning after Bautista’s hard slide into the second baseman was deemed illegal. The result was a benches-clearing brawl in a 7-6 Texas win.
Now the Blue Jays have to wait and see if there will be any sanctions for Bautista following the fight. Bautista doesn’t think he should be fined or suspended.
Bautista, who was ejected along with Odor, defended his actions following the incident. The inning started with Bautista getting hit by a 97 mph fastball from Texas reliever Matt Bush on the first pitch of the inning.
“My opinion is that the whole situation was mismanaged by the umpires,” Bautista said. “There’s a couple of things they could have done differently to let us, as the players, take care of it on the field. I had a hard slide at second base. I could have injured him (Odor). I chose not to. I just tried to send a message that I didn’t appreciate getting hit. Whatever.”
Bautista’s homer in last year’s American League Division Series was followed by a bat flip that upset the Rangers and their fans. Despite that, the clubs had played six games this year without the Rangers hitting him.
That changed Sunday, and it surprised Bautista.
“Other than hearing the media talk about it constantly, I didn’t really think it would cross their mind to do something like that, but I guess it shows a little bit of their colors,” said Bautista, who was 1-for-3 with three RBIs before getting ejected.
Toronto manager John Gibbons took Bautista’s side.
“To me it was gutless,” Gibbons said. “The other 29 teams, they come at you right away, but to wait until the end, it just sort of tells you something. I’ve been around this game a long time, like a lot of these guys, and it’s sort of surprising. If what happened last year bothers you that much, you usually take it up.”
Texas manager Jeff Banister said, “I think it was just two hard-nosed baseball teams that play the game hard. They go at it hard. They like their club. We like our club. I take offense to everybody that thinks this is a game that shouldn’t be played hard, that it shouldn’t be played with emotion and intensity. We try to play hard. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”