Longoria, Upton get into heated exchange
Confrontation occurs after top of the fifth in loss to D-backs
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' frustration with their performance of late boiled over in a very visible way on Sunday afternoon, during a 2-1 loss to the D-backs.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria got into a heated argument in the dugout after the top of the fifth, and Upton had to be restrained by Willy Aybar, as the two were disputing a defensive play by Upton that led to D-backs first baseman Rusty Ryal recording his first career triple. Ryal pulled the ball to left-center field, and Upton ran over from where he was positioned closer to right-center to track the ball down. Longoria made a comment to Upton about the play in the dugout, and the confrontation ensued.
"It's just the byproduct of a frustrated team," Longoria said. "We're trying to win games, and guys are going to have differences of opinions, and that's the bottom line. We talked about it, and we hashed it out. It goes no further than today. We talked about the situation in the outfield, the positioning. It's not that big of a deal. Again, it's just a couple guys frustrated with the way they're playing and not being able to help the team. I think it just got a little bit more out of hand than it should have, and we talked about it and I think it's done."
Upton's hustle and motivation have been questioned before, but all parties involved, including Rays manager Joe Maddon, said this was more an issue of positioning than anything else. Upton ran across center field to get it, while left fielder Matt Joyce may have had a better play on the ball, which rolled all the way to the fence.
"Where I was positioned, it's a long way to go," Upton said. "Joe's always said you shouldn't assume, but I assumed that the left fielder might be there, but he wasn't. Maybe I should have cut it off, but it's over with now."
Longoria said the issue was "already buried," and he wasn't surprised at how Upton reacted to his criticism. Given Upton's .223 batting average, Longoria's recent hitting slump and the fact that the team has lost 19 of its last 31, they had plenty of reason to be easily upset.
"He understands that I'm going to talk to him, and everybody's going to talk to him as a teammate, and not in any kind of a negative way," Longoria said. "I think if things are going well for us and we're not really frustrated as a club, it's not a big deal, no one's in here even talking about it. With what we're going through as a club, emotions are high."
Upton also said the scuffle won't be a problem going forward, and he didn't anticipate any disciplinary action from Maddon, who commented that Upton "did not run as hard as he could after the ball. That was obvious."
"It's something that happens in the course of a Major League season," Maddon said. "It's just one of those moments that happened to us, and now it's up to me to handle it properly."
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.