Will Middlebrooks wasn’t happy with Esmil Rogers after Friday’s game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Buffalo Bisons at McCoy Stadium.
Rogers — the same pitcher who broke Middlebrooks’ wrist with a 95 mph fastball back in 2012 — plunked Middlebrooks in the fifth inning of the PawSox’s 4-3 win after his previous pitch ran up and in on the rehabbing third baseman. Middlebrooks slammed his bat in frustration, which was a sign of things to come.
“He didn’t mean to hit me (in 2012),” Middlebrooks said after Friday’s game, according to the Providence Journal. “I didn’t agree with tonight just because there was a base open, he missed me and then he hit me. I didn’t agree with that. I thought that was bad baseball. I’m not a guy to charge the mound, especially here. I’m here trying to get my innings up, not trying to fight people. It (ticked) me off, yeah. … He should carry himself better than that. Think his emotions just got the better of him.”
The benches and bullpens emptied the following inning. Alex Hassan hit a home run off Rogers, and the right-hander’s next pitch to Deven Marrero sailed high and tight. Rogers struck out Corey Brown to end the inning, after which the two exchanged words, leading to the bench-clearing incident.
“Guys are going to protect each other,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles told reporters before Saturday’s game. “Teammates, the bonds are strong. It’s unfortunate what happened, but it didn’t escalate and nothing happened where anybody was put in jeopardy.”
No punches were thrown in the brouhaha and nobody was ejected. Order quickly was restored, and it doesn’t sound as if there will be any retaliation despite tensions clearly running high Friday night.
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s a dead issue,” Boles said Saturday. “We have to keep the big picture in mind as far as getting these guys to the major leagues.”
Outfielder Shane Victorino also was in the PawSox’s starting lineup Friday. He was activated by the Red Sox before Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.
Middlebrooks, whose rehab clock restarted Friday, is expected to remain at Pawtucket for the time being.
Photo via Twitter/@PawSoxDaddy