Trevor Bauer showed his frustrations after surrendering the Cleveland Indians‘ lead to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday by throwing a baseball from the mound over the center-field fence at Kauffman Stadium.
Bauer threw the ball as manager Terry Francona was coming onto the field to take him out of the game. The Indians manager appeared upset at Bauer’s actions and pointed to the dugout as he met the right-hander at the mound with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Bauer appeared to acknowledge that he was in the wrong, putting his hand on his chest as Francona met him.
After the game, which the Royals won 9-6, Bauer apologized for his behavior and said his actions weren’t directed at his teammates.
“I want to be clear that my frustrations were with myself and my inability to stop the situation and keep my team in the game,” Bauer said. “I’m an intense competitor. That fire is what drives me. Today, it completely consumed me and took over.”
He added about his heave: “It was unbecoming. It was childish. Unprofessional. There’s no place for it in the game.”
Bauer’s actions surprised his teammates, particularly second baseman Mike Freeman, who flinched as Bauer threw the ball. Rookie center fielder Oscar Mercado had his back turned and was looking at the wall when he saw the ball land; he spun around, trying to figure out what happened.
Bauer said he spoke to his teammates, but wasn’t sure how they would take his apology.
“It’s hard to tell right now,” he said. “Everyone’s emotions are high. I just wanted to talk to them, to let them know how I’m feeling and how I feel like I let them down both personally and professionally. Hopefully we can move past that.”
Francona followed Bauer into the dugout and both disappeared into the tunnel. Both reappeared in the dugout later in the inning, separate but both apparently fuming.
“That’s just between us,” Francona said about what he told Bauer. “We certainly discussed it, as we should, and he talked to the team. Today was a frustrating day. He did it out of frustration. I don’t ever want to say something that I don’t mean out of frustration.
“Man, frustration’s probably the right word. Coming out of the pen, [pitching coach] Carl [Willis] said he had great stuff. I was kind of worried because I know he’d been sick all week,” Francona added. “The inning, so many things went wrong in that inning. We lose a ball in the sun, we get the tapper back to him, there’s a walk or two mixed in, some hits. Just a couple of balls that weren’t hit hard. It seemed like everything that could happen did.”
Bauer gave up a single to shallow right by Cheslor Cuthbert that tied the score at 5 and then a two-run single to center by Nicky Lopez that made it 7-5, ending his day after 4⅓ innings. After Lopez’s hit, Bauer tossed the ball at the backstop. He then made the throw over center field.
Pitchers have made similar throws in the past, for various reasons.
In 2002, Arizona reliever Byung-Hyun Kim got the last out at Yankee Stadium, then threw the game ball onto the netting atop Monument Park in left-center field. In the 2001 World Series, he gave up a pair of late homers that let New York rally past the Diamondbacks.
In 1991, fired-up Reds reliever Rob Dibble threw a ball over the center-field wall after closing out a game at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium. His throw hit a fan, and Dibble was suspended by Major League Baseball. There were no fans in the vicinity of where Bauer threw the ball Sunday.
In 1986, Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti gave up a key home run and tossed the ball over the right field wall at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
Bauer matched career highs in runs (eight) and earned runs (seven) allowed Sunday, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.