Blue Jays upset with timing of Rangers' retaliation
TORONTO (AP) Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is in the lineup for Monday's game against the Rays, one day after being punched in the jaw by Rangers infielder Rougned Odor during a brawl in Texas.
As they await word of discipline and suspensions from Sunday's melee, the Blue Jays remain angry that Texas waited until the final regular season meeting between the teams to seek retaliation for Bautista's bat flip in last year's AL Division Series.
Bautista did not speak to reporters before Monday's game, but manager John Gibbons said he felt it was inappropriate for the Rangers to wait until the eighth inning of the season finale against Toronto to hit Bautista with a pitch.
''If something irritates you that bad and something is going to happen, the only way to do is to take care of it right away,'' Gibbons said.
After Bautista was hit by Matt Bush, things escalated when Bautista slid hard into second while trying to break up a double play. He and Odor shoved one another before Odor landed a punch to Bautista's jaw, sending Bautista's batting helmet and sunglasses flying.
Outfielder Kevin Pillar was among the first to rush to Bautista's defense Sunday. On Monday, Pillar said he felt Odor's punch was out of line.
''When a guy gets a clean shot like that, most of us, our only thought process was getting one back,'' Pillar said. ''An eye for an eye, that's how a lot of us approached it.''
The incident led to six ejections, including Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez, who was tossed after hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch to begin the bottom half of the inning.
Gibbons, who returned to the field Sunday after being ejected for arguing earlier in the game, said Monday that he has yet to hear about any suspensions.