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Bench-clearing in Pawtucket after the Bisons' Esmil Rogers provokes the Red Sox

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The brief skirmish
The brief skirmish
Minor Leaguer screencap from MiLB.tv

Last Friday evening at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, there was a small dust-up between the triple-A affiliates of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox that led to the emptying of both dugouts and bullpens, but no punches were thrown.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pawtucket Red Sox's Alex Hassan hit a home run off of Buffalo Bisons' starting pitcher Esmil Rogers, tying the game 3-3. Rogers threw up-and-in at the next batter, Deven Marrero, who flew out for the second out.

Rogers then struck out Corey Brown swinging to end the inning. As both teams were walking off the field, Rogers said something to Brown and also gestured towards the Pawtucket dugout. That caused Brown to turn around, toss away his bat, and walk directly towards Rogers. Before the two got near each other, though, both benches and bullpens emptied and a large, but rather peaceful, shoving incident started on the field.

Earlier in the game, major league rehabber Will Middlebrooks almost hit a home run off of Rogers, but he was robbed by Kevin Pillar over the left-centrefield wall. In the fifth inning, Rogers tried to hit Middlebrooks with a pitch up-and-in, but just missed. The very next pitch, Rogers threw a fastball that got Middlebrooks right in his back. He slammed down his bat and walked to first angrily.

If you recall, Will Middlebrooks' rookie season was ended early on August 10 due to a broken wrist on a hit-by-pitch by--you guessed it--Esmil Rogers, then of the Cleveland Indians.

Since the game was in Pawtucket, we unfortunately only have the reaction from the PawSox. After the game, Middlebrooks was still fuming at what Rogers did, with quotes coming from the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels:

"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."

Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times noted that Rogers later apologized for his actions, so I don't feel too bad writing this up without comments from the Bisons' side. Middlebrooks, Marrero, and the PawSox deserved that apology. I don't like pitchers hitting batters intentionally, especially if they fail to do it the first time and have to try again. Esmil Rogers was outrighted off the major league roster earlier this season and is probably not very happy to be riding the buses down in the International League, but trying throw up-and-in with the intention to hit a guy who is just down there rehabbing from an injury is wrong.

Pawtucket got the last laugh though: when Steve Delabar came out to pitch the bottom of the seventh, Dan Butler hit a hanging fastball out of the park for what would later be the game-winning home run. Delabar has struggled since his demotion. Through ten innings pitched, he has given up six runs on eight hits (including two homers). He has struck out nine batters in that stretch, but has also walked six.

The Bisons also dropped Saturday's game 3-1 against Pawtucket. Buffalo has now lost six straight games and have gone 6-11 since July 1.

Colby vs. Colby

Some more dumb baseball stuff happened after Saturday's Rangers-Blue Jays game in Toronto. Rangers starter Colby Lewis, he of a 6.37 ERA and 1.84 WHIP, was unhappy that Colby Rasmus decided to bunt for a base hit against the Rangers' shift in the fifth inning when the Jays were up 2-0. Apparently, Lewis believed that it was against baseball's Unwritten Rules to do so, yelling at Rasmus after he arrived safely at first base.

But we had to wait until after the game for the genuine gems to escape Major League Baseball's second-best Colby's mouth:

Rasmus then told reporters that he didn't think he did anything that is against the Unwritten Rules (of course, that's hard to fact-check due to the fact the rules are unwritten) and that his job is to help the team not to "please the other side".