Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was ejected in the second inning of his team’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The following day, he expressed regret for part of the way it all went down — the part that resulted in a bench-clearing quarrel.
Lovullo was tossed by home plate umpire Tim Timmons for arguing balls and strikes after Timmons rung up D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock on a 3-2 fastball Pollock thought was low and out of the zone. But what appeared to be a run-of-the-mill manager ejection turned into a much more contentious incident when veteran Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, seemingly all of a sudden, became furious with Lovullo and got into the second-year manager’s face, bumping Timmons in the process.
It was a wild scene.
On Monday, Lovullo, who gestured toward Molina when addressing Timmons, admitted he used profanity when calling out the way Molina was framing pitches.
“I said what I said,” Lovullo explained Monday. “I made a mistake with some of the wording that I chose. I think the one message that I want to say is that I respect Yady, I think he’s one of the best catchers in baseball. Has been for a long time.”
Lovullo was arguing a called third strike on A.J. Pollock leading off the second innings. He had not liked a called third strike against David Peralta starting the game.
The Arizona manager said he praised Molina while using a profanity and said “but he can’t turn balls into strikes.”
After the game, Molina went into more detail about what infuriated him and called for discipline for Lovullo.
“He called me a motherf—er, twice. You can’t allow that,” Molina said. “I hope that MLB sees this and they can fine this guy because you can’t allow that.”
Surprisingly, Molina was allowed to stay in the game even though making contact with an umpire ordinarily results in, at the very least, an ejection.
Timmons told a pool reporter he understood why Molina was so upset and that the contact between the two was “incidental.”
“So when Lovullo got to me after I had ejected him, he made a comment that was aggressive that Yadi overheard, so that’s why Yadi reacted the way that he did,” the umpire said. “I think at that point Yadi became agitated, which was understandable. [The contact] was just incidental.”
Once MLB completely reviews the ordeal, discipline for Molina in the form of a fine or suspension could still come (Update: Lovullo and Molina were both hit with one-game suspensions).
For his part, Lovullo expects to see a fine come his way.
“I’ll deal with the consequences,” he said.
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