After taking exception to an inside pitch from Chris Sale in the ninth inning Saturday, Rays third baseman Felipe Lopez hit a solo home run and flipped his bat in the direction of the pitcher’s mound. When he came around to touch home plate, A.J. Pierzynski confronted Lopez and the two exchanged words before Rays manager Joe Maddon came out to grab his player.
The incident didn’t escalate, and Lopez maintained his innocence after the game. He reportedly called White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to apologize, and the topic wasn’t even brought up in Guillen’s pre-game media session Sunday.
Over on the Rays side, however, manager Joe Maddon had strong words for his third baseman, whose name did not appear in the lineup.
“We don’t do that here,” the skipper said. “That’s not who we are.”
We won’t get an answer as to whether Maddon is just trying to get his youngster Sean Rodriguez some at-bats, or whether he’s protecting/punishing Lopez, but a switch-hitter is bound to get in the game late, especially with five lefties in Maddon’s Sunday lineup. I still expect cooler heads to prevail, as neither team can afford to lose focus this early in the season.
Maddon said he hopes to call Guillen or talk to him after the series to make sure there are no lingering issues.