HOUSTON — Houston manager Bo Porter called Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Saturday to apologize for what many players consider a bush-league ploy, one that caused confusion between Angels catcher Hank Conger and first baseman Mark Trumbo on a popup that dropped in front of the Astros dugout Friday night.
With two on, one out and the score tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, Chris Carter hit a foul pop-up that Conger appeared to have a bead on before someone from the Astros dugout yelled, “I got it!”
Conger backed off at the last second, thinking Trumbo had called for the ball, which dropped to the ground. Conger was initially charged with an error, but the official scorer changed it to no play after the Angels’ 4-2 win.
“I apologized to him on behalf of our ballclub,” Porter said of his conversation with Scioscia. “It’s not something that I condone, and I take full responsibility. It won’t happen again.”
Trumbo appreciated the gesture.
“I think we’ve moved on, regardless, but that’s a classy move,” Trumbo said. “It’s a strange thing, but it was nice of him to extend the apology.”
Conger was angered by the play, but glad it didn’t hurt the Angels. The catcher later threw out Jose Altuve trying to steal third, and Carter grounded out to end the inning. “Luckily, we were able to get out of that inning,” he said.
It’s normal for fans to yell such things on pop-ups, but Trumbo said players can usually differentiate the voices of fans from teammates because they’ve played with teammates for so long. But Conger said he may have to come up with a contingency plan when in such close proximity of fans.
“We should probably have a ‘safe’ word or something,” Conger said with a laugh. “That’s a tough one because when there’s a pop-up by the dugout, if we hear Trumbo or Albert [Pujols] or [third baseman Alberto] Callaspo call it off, we give them the right of way. It’s one of those things we’ll have to talk about, because it will probably come up again.”