At first I assumed it was either an impromptu dental exam or Torii Hunter and umpire Paul Nauert reenacting the famous “My sister” [slap] “My daughter” [slap] scene from “Chinatown,” but that apparently was not the case. Rather, Hunter was jawing at Orioles pitcher Bud Norris after Norris hit him n the ribs and Nauert was trying to calm Hunter down. Hunter reacted negatively when it happened, but he’s cool about it now though:
“That’s my guy,” Hunter told The Detroit News of Nauert. “He was trying to cover my mouth. I’ve known him too long [to be upset]. He was just saying to me, ‘C’mon, T. You’re way better than that.’ And he’s right.
“I apologize to the fans for my reaction.”
MLB is investigating because it sorta has to given that it has rules about players touching umpires, but I’d expect nothing to come of this given the nature of the situation and Hunter not having any objections.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.