Third baseman Evan Longoria and outfielder B.J. Upton had to be separated in the Rays’ dugout Sunday after Longoria got in Upton’s face for failing to hustle after a ball that was hit to the Tropicana Field wall in the fifth inning.
The would-be double turned into a triple for D’Backs first baseman Rusty Ryal and was followed by a Gerrardo Parra two-run homer.
Upton was clearly at fault, but presumably had a problem with Longoria calling him out in front of the rest of the team, including manager Joe Maddon.
The Rays have been in a bit of a funk lately and have dropped five of their last seven games to National League clubs. Sunday’s incident in the dugout looked ugly, but can probably be chalked up as a heat-of-the-battle type moment, borne out of the frustration of losing to perfectly beatable teams.
In fact, Upton told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times on Sunday evening that the issue is “buried.”
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.