Jesus Montero will not play baseball again this season for the Seattle Mariners organization after a heated confrontation in the stands with a team scout during a minor league game in Boise, Idaho.
Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said on Friday that the actions of Montero and cross-checker Butch Baccala were "unacceptable" and "embarrassing" for the club. Montero was being brought back to Seattle while Baccala was told to return to his home in the Bay Area and await internal discussions regarding discipline.
"We are extremely disappointed in both of their actions. It is unacceptable," Zduriencik said. "This organization doesn’t condone that type of behavior. It is being addressed as we speak. There are no excuses for either party. We have none. We don’t intend to make any. It’s something that is extremely disappointing and embarrassing for the organization and for those two individuals."
The confrontation came during a Class-A game between the Boise Hawks and Seattle’s affiliate, the Everett AquaSox, on Thursday night. Montero was with the Northwest League club while recovering from an oblique injury in the hopes that the first baseman and designated hitter could get enough at-bats that he could be a possible September addition to the Mariners when rosters expand.
Montero was not playing in the game and was coaching first base as his rehab assignment with the club was scheduled to begin on Friday.
What happened next, Zduriencik would not specify. MiLB.com reported Baccala had an ice cream sandwich sent to the dugout for Montero. Zduriencik said he would not go into details until having face-to-face conversations with both parties and there was no known acrimony between Montero and Baccala.
Montero was suspended 50 games in 2013 as part of the Biogenesis probe and the 24-year-old reported for spring training in February overweight and out of shape.
"There’s always two sides to a story," Zduriencik said. "But it really doesn’t matter. This incident is of the magnitude that either party should have been more under control. Either party should have been more professional. You just don’t get to this point and say neither is to blame or who is to cast the blame. It doesn’t really matter. There is always two sides to every story. In the end, I would view this as saying both parties are wrong."
Montero’s future in baseball may now be the biggest question. This is the latest in a string of issues that has seen Montero tumble from being viewed as a top minor-league prospect. He was the centerpiece of a trade between the Mariners and Yankees that sent pitcher Michael Pineda to New York. Montero hit .260 with 15 homers in his first full major-league season with the Mariners in 2012, but his career has had a downward tilt since.
Zduriencik said the team will focus on addressing all of Montero’s issues beyond just baseball.
"We are going to separate the baseball part of Jesus Montero from the human element part of Jesus Montero. Our intent is to address Jesus’ issues. There’s a history here of things that have happened. We are very, very disappointed in him," Zduriencik said. "I think more than anything else, from a human standpoint, we have to look at Jesus Montero as a person, as a father and as a husband and how can we help Jesus Montero and his family get through this. That’s our intent. That’s our first and foremost intent. We are in the process as we speak."