Manager Ned Yost insists his Kansas City Royals are not at fault for a string of fights. He blames the other teams.
“We haven’t started any of this,” Yost said.
He said opponents are trying to get under his players’ skin and he has challenged them to stay composed.
Yost spoke before Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, a day after the teams were involved in a benches-clearing melee that resulted in five players being ejected. It could also lead to discipline from the league.
The defending A.L. champion Royals were leading the Central division at 12-4. But while the wins are mounting, so are the skirmishes.
The latest was at the end of the seventh inning Thursday, when Yordano Ventura snagged a grounder by Adam Eaton. They appeared to have words before Ventura threw to first, and that’s when tensions boiled over.
Eaton had to be restrained from Ventura. The dugouts and bullpens emptied.
Haymakers were thrown. Yost had words with Chicago starter Chris Sale. White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija at one point charged at Yost and landed on top of him.
Ventura was ejected from his second straight game. Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Edinson Volquez also were tossed.
So were Samardzija and Sale, who, according to a report, tried to enter the Kansas City locker room during the eighth inning.
The Royals also have had issues with the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics. They believe part it comes from being the defending A.L. champions — that they have targets on their backs after years of losing.
“Teams are trying to get in our heads a little more,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “We’re not starting it by any means. We’re just trying to play baseball and go out there and play the game that we all love playing.”
Fernandez becomes citizen
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, a native of Cuba, became a U.S. citizen and was the keynote speaker during the ceremony for 140 other South Florida residents.
The 22-year-old Fernandez arrived in the U.S. in 2008, settling in Tampa, Florida.
“This is a dream that I’ve had since I was little, and actually achieving it is really amazing,” Fernandez said. “Having my family here and so much support from this amazing country, it’s really fantastic.”
Fernandez earned N.L. rookie of the year and All-Star honors in 2013. He’s currently on the disabled list after missing most of the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery.
Clearing the bases
The Orioles placed IF Ryan Flaherty on the 15-day DL with a right groin strain. … The Marlins put LF Christian Yelich on the 15-day DL retroactive to Monday because of a lower back strain. … Mets reliever Bobby Parnell (elbow) has been shut down for a week after experiencing forearm muscle soreness.
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