On Tuesday, the Albuquerque Isotopes experienced one of the strangest incidents in baseball. It’s not unheard of for teams to get into fights. It’s not even unheard of for teammates to squabble. But, what happened in the Isotopes dugout on Tuesday was truly bizarre.
It began with a fairly pedestrian play: a stolen base. With Miguel Olivo catching and Alex Guerrero at second base, the throw down was just late in nailing a base runner. However, while Guerrero was showing the ball to the umpire, the runner came off the base and would have been out had Guerrero stayed with the play.
It didn’t take long for Olivo to voice his frustration. As the infielders gathered at the mound during a pitching change, the veteran catcher immediately voiced his displeasure with Guerrero, while the second baseman tried to understand why he was so angry.
The situation could have ended there, but Olivo’s chiding continued. Exacerbated, Guerrero became upset and gestured emphatically at Olivo. This incensed Olivo, causing him to lunge at Guerrero, having to be restrained by his teammates. Once the inning ended, the players returned to the dugout and Olivo approached Guerrero, when things became physical.
Olivo threw a punch at Guerrero, then proceeded to bite his ear, removing a considerable portion of it. The players both exited the game, with Guerrero heading to the hospital to undergo plastic surgery. Olivo was placed on the Suspended List the following day, and a day later, was released by the organization.
The Dodgers haven’t spoken much about the incident, though Isotopes manager Damon Berryhill provided some insight on Friday:
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said. “It’s two players, their tempers got heated. A situation came up that really is unacceptable by really anybody’s standards. Miguel, unfortunately, took something too far and the Dodgers have now released him.”
Berryhill also provided some information on Guerrero’s recovery:
“A little bit about Alex, he’s through recovery, he’s in good spirits,” the manager said. “He’s anxious to get healthy and get back on the field and get back to playing baseball.”
An injury to Dodgers’ third baseman Juan Uribe would have provided a chance for the Cuban infielder to return to the big league club. Unfortunately, this situation will now keep him sidelined for an indefinite period of time. While Guerrero waits for his next chance at the majors, Olivo may have ruined his last.
Dodgers News: Miguel Olivo Bites Alex Guerrero’s Ear, Needs Surgery