Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque’s win was sealed with a kiss Sunday, as he opted to give the baseball a little sugar after snagging Yoenis Cespedes’ comebacker to end the top of the ninth.
Alburquerque kissed the ball before throwing it over to Prince Fielder for the out in a tie game. It was the only batter he’d face, and he was credited with the victory when the Tigers scored in the bottom of the ninth.
The A’s weren’t at all impressed by the gesture.
“It did get under my skin,” outfielder Josh Reddick said. “It was very unprofessional. I didn’t appreciate that one bit.”
One imagines the Tigers will tell Alburquerque not to do it again. If any Detroit reliever is going to make it a point to regularly show up the other team, it’s going to be Jose Valverde.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.