Arnold Leon’s time in the spotlight is over – at least for the time being.
The Oakland A’s sent Leon to the minor leagues Monday, two days after his intentional plunking of Rene Tosoni sparked a benches-clearing brawl in the World Baseball Classic.
The incident came near the end of Canada’s 10-3 victory over Mexico at Chase Field in Phoenix. Leon, a Mexican relief pitcher, apparently acted on orders from third baseman Luis Cruz when he hit Tosoni in the back after Chris Robinson’s leadoff bunt single in the ninth inning.
A bunt under those circumstances would have been viewed as disrespectful during a regular-season game, but Team Canada was attempting to widen its margin of victory for the purposes of a tournament tiebreaker. (The score was ultimately irrelevant, as Canada lost to Team USA on Sunday and failed to advance out of Pool D.)
Leon, 24, was optioned to Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento and is expected to begin the season there. Leon had a 2.70 ERA in 44 appearances for three teams in Oakland’s farm system last year.