On Monday, Royals second baseman Omar Infante took a Heath Bell fastball to the face. It was a scary incident as the Royals were worried about their infielder potentially having suffered a broken jaw and/or a concussion. Luckily, tests turned up negative, and Infante is back in the lineup three games later.
Infante has had a rough go of it after signing a four-year, $30.25 million deal with the Royals in December. He battled elbow and shoulder problems throughout the spring, playing in only eight exhibition games. Between the start of the regular season and his injury, Infante has a .348/.423/.348 slash line in 26 plate appearances. In his absence, Danny Valencia and Johnny Giovotella each made a start.
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.