You hear of dugout altercations from time to time, but ears everywhere (aside for maybe one) in the baseball world may be turned to the latest incident that occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah.
During a Triple-A game on Tuesday between the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Salt Lake Bees, catcher Miguel Olivo became incensed on the mound during a pitching change. The target of his anger was second baseman Alex Guerrero, who failed to tag out a stealing baserunner earlier in the game.
Olivo appeared to lunge at Guerrero, but they were broken up by teammates. Unfortunately, tempers continued to flare when the Isotopes returned to the dugout. The two began fighting, and the altercation ended with Olivo biting off part of Guerrero’s ear.
Unfortunately for Olivo, the 35-year-old may have bitten off more than he can chew.
The Isotopes are the top affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 27-year-old Guerrero is one of the Dodgers’ top prospects. The team signed the Cuban star to a four-year, $28 million deal this past offseason. According to his agent Scott Boras, Guerrero needed plastic surgery to repair the damage.
“This is a first for me,” said Boras.
When question by police at the hospital, Guerrero wanted to talk to both his lawyer and league officials before deciding whether or not to press charges. There is also the question of Olivo’s future with the organization.
A 13-year MLB veteran, Olivo was sent to the minors last week when A.J. Ellis came off of the disabled list. Out of options, Olivo had to agree to the assignment. The Dodgers released a statement on the matter, saying they were aware of the incident and were conducting an investigation.
"We don't condone it, and we don't think it's constructive," general manager Ned Colletti said of the incident. "People can have disagreements. When it gets beyond that level, it's over the limit."
Olivo has been suspended pending the team investigation. The team did not speculate as to how long Guerrero would be out with his injury.
**Update** The Dodgers released Miguel Olivo on Thursday following the completion of their investigation.