Benches clear during Blue Jays-Rays game after Cabrera, Caballero exchange words

Updated Mar. 30, 2024 8:33 p.m. ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Benches cleared at the end of the seventh inning of the game Saturday between the Blue Jays and Rays when Toronto pitcher Génesis Cabrera exchanged words with José Caballero and shoved the Tampa Bay shortstop.

Tempers flared after Caballero, who layed down a bunt single to drive in a run, continued around the bases on third baseman Justin Turner's throwing error. Right fielder George Springer ran down the throw past first base and threw to shortstop Bo Bichette, who tagged Caballero out at third base for the final out of the inning.

Cabrera, who was backing up third base, and Caballero came together as the play concluded and exchanged words. The Blue Jays reliever shoved the infielder and teammates spilled out of each dugout, but no punches were thrown.

"I saw the ball in the bullpen and started running. The coach is waving at me to go to third. When I got to third, I see Bichette had the ball already, so I gave myself up. I’m kind of slowing down and Cabrera comes out of nowhere and kind of tags me. But there’s no play, I’m already out," Caballero said. “I just asked him, why did you push me? He didn’t say a word. He just came up to me and pushed me again.”


The scuffle came two innings after the Rays' Randy Arozarena celebrated his solo homer by kissing his bat, doing a cross-arm pose and then signing autographs for fans after returning to the dugout.

Cabrera was ejected.

“I will say it was more like the heat of the moment," Cabrera said through a translator. "I mean, I think we all kind of overreact a little bit. I mean, he kind of looked at me and I just react. ... It’s part of the game sometimes, but it’s over with. It’s where it ends, right there.”

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash thought Caballero handled the situation well by not doing anything to escalate the confrontation.

"Both teams didn't let it get out of hand," Cash said.

Blue Jays manager John Schneider agreed.

“It was handled really well by everyone, umpires and Tampa, and us,” Schneider said. “It was kind of just one of those things where it just kind of happened and they issued warnings and everyone was fine with that.”


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