Manny Machado shouldn't expect to receive any Christmas cards from the Oakland A's this winter.
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A beef that began Friday came to a head on Sunday in an incident that included an inside fastball, a thrown bat and two empty benches, resulting in two ejections.
Machado and A's reliever Fernando Abad were tossed from the A's 11-1 win Sunday after Abad threw inside -- twice -- at Machado, retaliation for an incident from earlier Sunday. After the second time, Machado swung late and released his bat, likely aimed at Abad but ending up down the third base line. For his part, Machado claimed the bat slipped out of his hands.
Either way, both messages were sent.
"It was obvious the pitcher threw at him the second time," crew chief Larry Vanover said. "The first time you have some doubt, but the second time there was no doubt he threw at him. And then he threw the bat. That wasn't accidental."
Sunday's dust up began well before the eighth inning ejections, but the bad blood between the two squads dates back to Friday. In Friday's game, Machado took exception to a tag from his counterpart, Josh Donaldson, that he deemed too...something. The two players got face-to-face before teammates diffused the situation, and no ejections were handed out.
On Sunday, Machado caught catcher Derek Norris with his backswing on two separate occasions, the second forcing Norris from the game. All the while, Machado showed no concern for Norris' wellbeing, an attitude that struck some of the A's players the wrong way.
"Usually most guys, it's a, 'You all right?' Something," Norris said. "But, if anything, I might've caught him smiling one time, which is kinda bizarre. Not really much [courtesy] coming from his side today. I don't need a guy to ask me if I feel all right to feel good about a situation, but I think it is courteous for one ballplayer to another to ask if they're all right. But yeah, nothing."
Machado's seeming lack of concern for Norris prompted the A's to seek some baseball vengeance, prompting the eighth inning fireworks.
Machado can't be penalized for having questionable character, but if MLB deems his bat toss to be intentional -- the way Vanover, an MLB official, did -- he could be looking at a suspension of some sort. It's worth monitoring in the next 24 hours.
Cole Hits The DL With Shoulder Fatigue
Gerrit Cole had been wearing down late in his starts, and the Pirates think they've found the problem.
Cole was abruptly placed on the disabled list on Sunday with right shoulder fatigue, partially at fault for Cole's struggles as he got deeper into games in recent weeks. Consider: in innings 1-3 this season, Cole has a 2.50 ERA and .238/.313/.354 line; in innings 4-6, those numbers jump to a 5.24 ERA and .290/.355/.486 batting line.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said it's a trend the team is hoping to cure with rest.
"We felt like it was probably better to be aggressive now, get ahead of it and give him some down time to get that fatigue out of there," Huntington said.
Cole said he's already feeling better, and Huntington said the big right-hander should only miss the minimum barring the unforeseen. Even with his issues, Cole is still the owner of a 3.64 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 69/25 K/BB ratio in 76 2/3 innings of work this year. Assuming the rest does him some good, Cole should bounce back and be a force for the Bucs and fantasy teams alike in the season's second half.
Moreland To Undergo Ankle Surgery
They say everything's bigger in Texas. That must go for the disasters as well.
Mitch Moreland decided Sunday to have reconstructive surgery on his left ankle, a procedure that will end his season for all intents and purposes. The recovery period is estimated at three months, putting a prospective return date around early-to-mid September. If the Rangers aren't in the hunt, Moreland may just pack it in and get ready for 2015.
Given what the Rangers have been through this year, it would be a miracle if the team was still in a position to advance to the postseason when Moreland was ready to come back. The first baseman's injury is just the latest in what's been a laughable season for the Texas club injury-wise. Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez, Matt Harrison and Geovany Soto are just a few of the players the team is currently playing without.
Things have gotten so bad that the player the team was planning to activate in Moreland's place, Jim Adduci, won't be reinstated as expected because he re-injured his left pinkie finger while on a rehab assignment Saturday. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels didn't have an immediate answer as to the team's plans for the position with Moreland out.
“We’re going to patchwork it until we get a plan together,” Daniels said.
One player who won't be an option for the Rangers is Kendrys Morales. The first baseman inked a one-year deal with the Twins over the weekend that will pay him approximately $7.6 million. Thor has that and more covered in The Week That Was.
National League Quick Hits: Jordan Zimmermann had a day on Sunday. The right-hander struck out 12 while allowing just two hits in a shutout of the Padres. He's thrown 17 scoreless innings heading into Friday's tilt with the Cardinals ... Other pitchers of note in the National League included Yovani Gallardo, Jaime Garcia, Homer Bailey and Jeff Locke, all of whom threw at least seven innings with one run or fewer allowed ... Henderson Alvarez left Sunday's start after 5 1/3 innings due to a strained left hip. Marlins manager Mike Redmond said after the game that Alvarez should be ready to go for his next start, though ... Paul Goldschmidt, Hanley Ramirez and Curtis Granderson unleashed some devastatingly long home runs on Sunday. Granderson's, which splashed down in McCovey Cove, was his second of the afternoon ... Troy Tulowitzki homered and Clayton Kershaw struck out nine in the rain-shortened game between the Dodgers and Rockies. Incidentally, Tulo and rain are two of the only things that have proven capable of getting to Kershaw of late.
American League Quick Hits: Felix Hernandez has been really good for a really long time, but he's never done what he did Sunday. Hernandez struck out 15 batters over seven shutout innings, but he took a no-decision for his efforts ... Other AL starters who had good days included Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Chris Archer and C.J. Wilson ... It was a grand day for Jon Singleton, Brandon Moss and Chris Carter. The trio -- two of whom play for the Astros -- each hit a grand slam in their teams' wins on Sunday ... It wasn't such a good day for a couple of American League closers. Joba Chamberlain, getting a shot at closing the door in place of the struggling Joe Nathan, allowed two runners to reach before David Ortiz cleared the bases with a dinger. In Tampa, Grant Balfour recorded two quick outs via the strikeout before the Mariners got to him for five runs. The game was scoreless up until that point ... Josh Hamilton continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. The outfielder is hitting .348 with five RBI in six games back from the DL.