David Ortiz charges mound as Red Sox-Orioles turns to brawl

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David Ortiz and Kevin Gregg sparked a benches-clearing brawl Friday night with the Red Sox spanking the Orioles for the second night in a row.

The Orioles called on their seldom-used closer down 9-3 in the bottom of the eighth.  After giving up a walk and an RBI triple to Josh Reddick, Gregg threw three straight inside fastballs to Ortiz.  The first and third both had Ortiz jumping out of the way.  Ortiz stared out after the first one and then took a couple of steps towards the mound following the third, causing the dugouts and benches to clear.

No punches were exchanged during the initial incident.  After the players returned to their positions, dugouts and bullpens, warnings were issued.

Gregg next threw a fastball over the plate that Ortiz popped up to shallow right for the second out of the inning.  Immediately as Ortiz popped up, Gregg started yelling at him to run it out.  Home plate umpire Mike Estabrook deserves credit for immediately tossing Gregg for the jawing, but Ortiz decided to charge the mound anyway and got off a couple of wild punches that failed to connect.

All in all, no real damage seemed to be done.  But now the Red Sox will likely have to do without Ortiz for five or six games.  Other players likely will face suspensions, too.  Gregg seems likely to miss a few games, and Red Sox hurlers John Lackey and Jonathan Papelbon were both involved in the scrum.

10:15 p.m. EDT: Orioles reliever Jim Johnson and Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, neither of whom were in the game, joined Ortiz and Gregg in being ejected.

10:20 p.m. EDT: As it turned out, Ortiz flew into a double play.  Reddick, who tripled prior to Ortiz’s at-bat, abandoned third base in order to take part in the fight and was called out, ending the eighth inning after a lengthy delay and several conversation between the umpires and managers Terry Francona and Buck Showalter.

10:25 p.m. EDT: The ninth proved to be uneventful, with Scott Atchison pitching a scoreless frame to end the game at 10-3.

Mike Napoli tore his ACL

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Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.

Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.

Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.