In what sounds like a scene from "Bull Durham," a pair of minor leaguers for the Miami Marlins got into a bar fight while on a road trip to Nashville in late April. Both are relief pitchers on the Class AAA New Orleans Zephyrs, but also have spent time in the major leagues.
Sam Dyson sustained a broken jaw, had surgery in Miami and went on the disabled list. He'll be out at least five more weeks. Chris Hatcher received a five-game suspension, presumably for throwing the key punch, but he's not talking about the fight.
The New Orleans Advocate paints a sketchy picture of the incident:
The fight occurred at a Nashville bar on April 29 during the team’s just-completed eight-game road trip, a source in the organization said. Hatcher refused to disclose the reason for the fight.
“I’m not getting into that; can’t do it,” he said Tuesday evening as the Zephyrs prepared for their game against the Iowa Cubs at Zephyr Field. “I’m suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Unfortunately (the incident) happened, and I’m going to leave it at that."
It took place after the Zephyrs beat the Sounds 9-4. Neither Dyson nor Hatcher pitched in that game.
“It happens,” Zephyrs manager Andy Haines said. “I don’t know exactly what happened, but we’re trying to (move) forward.”
It happens, boys will be boys, violence never solves anything, etc. The competition for that last spot in the Marlins big-league bullpen is obviously pretty intense. Hatcher, 29, returned from his suspension Wednesday and struck out two in a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 2.35 in 15 1/3 innings overall. He had been the team's primary closer. Dyson — who celebrated his 26th birthday Wednesday! — has a 2.76 ERA in 16 1/3 innings, stats that won't be changing for a while.
Both of these guys are old enough to know better. Going forward, this isn't going to help either pitcher get or stay in the majors. Yeah, if you can pitch, generally, they'll bring you up and give you a chance. But if there are two players angling for one open spot, the Marlins probably are going to go for the guy who didn't get into a bar fight.
There are exceptions, of course. And hey, if Hatcher were Nuke LaLoosh, the punch he threw would have missed!
More MLB coverage at Yahoo Sports:
- - - - - - -