A’s take exception to Manny Machado’s antics

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The A’s had strong words for Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado after he threw his bat during an eighth-inning incident Sunday that cleared the benches at Camden Yards.

Machado sent his bat flying down the third-base line — seemingly intentionally –- after the second of two very inside pitches from A’s reliever Fernando Abad. The pitches surely were in response to the Orioles throwing inside and hitting Josh Donaldson on Friday, after Machado took exception to a tag from Donaldson.

John Jaso was the first A’s player to reach Machado after the benches cleared and got right in Machado’s face before Orioles first base coach Wayne Kirby separated the two. It added some late spice to a blowout the A’s won 11-1.

[RELATED: A’s explode past Orioles, win 11-1]

“There’s times in baseball where a guy with that kind of talent (acts) like he’s got 10-plus years in the big leagues,” Jaso told CSN California’s Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse after the game. “That doesn’t really fly well with me and I don’t think it flies well with a lot of players. Sometimes those guys need to be brought down a little bit so they play the game right.

“Obviously there’s a few examples from this series where he isn’t playing the game right, and it’s kind of a disrespect to the game. I know there’s veteran presences over there with the Orioles, and I think it’s up to them to kind of take control of the situation.”

The A’s also were ticked about a sixth-inning incident Sunday, when Machado’s bat twice hit A’s catcher Derek Norris unintentionally during his backswing. Norris was struck in the head with one of them and was so shaken up he had to leave the game. In the whole time Norris was being attended to at home plate, Machado never glanced in Norris’ direction or made any effort to apologize or ask if Norris was OK.

Norris told reporters he thinks he actually caught Machado smiling after one of the backswings, and labeled Machado’s behavior “a disgrace to baseball. Things like that stain your career.”

Norris said he passed his concussion tests, and manager Bob Melvin expects Norris to be available for Monday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.

Machado and Abad both were ejected from the game over the eighth-inning incident. Afterward, Machado claimed that the bat slipped out of his hands.

The A’s weren’t buying it.

“That was the worst temper tantrum I’ve probably ever seen on a baseball field,” A’s starting pitcher Scott Kazmir said. “He tried to say that he lost the bat. That clearly wasn’t the case.”

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.