It seems that any Angels-related news that doesn’t involve Mike Trout is bad news, these days. We learned earlier that general manager Jerry DiPoto and manager Mike Scioscia will not be able to coexist in the Angels organization after the season. Now, via Scott Miller of CBS Sports, it appears that outfielder Torii Hunter had to be restrained from fighting with first baseman Albert Pujols last August.
Pujols called out [Jered] Weaver for showing up a teammate the night before. Then he turned his attention on Hunter, blaming him for the dugout altercation with [C. J.] Wilson.
What Pujols did not know at the time was that Wilson and Hunter already had made amends, with the pitcher apologizing to the outfielder for overstepping his bounds in the dugout immediately following the game.
“Albert, you’d better get your facts straight,” a seething Hunter told Pujols.
Pujols said something back, and Hunter jumped him for being a bad teammate and pouting all season whenever he failed to get hits in a game, even in games the Angels won … and now he was going to call others out?
“Shut up, Torii,” Pujols snapped.
It was then that Hunter, from across the clubhouse, lost it and charged Pujols. [LaTroy] Hawkins and outfielder Vernon Wells had to restrain him.
The meeting proceeded from there, and when it was over, tempers still heated, Hunter had to be physically held back a second time from going after Pujols, who is described as wanting no part of the fight.
Miller mentions that Hunter had previously been involved in another clubhouse argument with Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. The outfielder punched Morneau in the jaw, but the two ended up settling their differences and accepting each other as teammates.
(Note: For what it’s worth, a Minnesota writer’s account of the event slightly differs from Miller’s, saying that Hunter threw a punch at Morneau but missed and hit Nick Punto instead.)
Last season, Pujols was in the first year of a ten-year, $240 million contract. He finished with the worst single-season offensive numbers of his career to that point, and he has continued to trend in the wrong direction in 2013 while the Angels have been sitting in fourth place in the AL West for most of the season. Hunter, meanwhile, signed a two-year, $26 million contract with the Tigers in the off-season. His team is holding onto a five-game lead in the AL Central.