Dusty: Cintron 'remorseful' for role in dustup

Springer on mend, sees hand specialist; Osuna to 45-day IL

August 10th, 2020

HOUSTON – As the team waits to hear about possible punishment from Major League Baseball, Astros manager Dusty Baker said Monday that hitting coach Alex Cintron is “remorseful” for his role in Sunday’s benches-clearing incident with the A’s in Oakland.

Cintron and A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano got involved in a shouting match after Laureano was hit by a pitch for the second consecutive at-bat -- and third time in the series -- in the seventh inning. Cintron, standing in the first-base dugout, exchanged words and gestured at Laureano standing at first. Laureano charged the dugout and was tackled by Astros catcher Dustin Garneau off the bench, leading to both benches clearing. Laureano and A’s catcher Austin Allen were ejected.

“We talked about it in the coaches’ room,” Baker said prior to the series opener against the Giants at Minute Maid Park. “I haven’t heard anything from Major League Baseball, and it happened already. It’s unfortunate. We’re trying not to let it happen again. That’s the meat of it. It wasn’t a very long meeting between us. We haven’t heard anything from the league.”

Baker, after watching video of the incident, contends rookie pitcher Humberto Castellanos wasn’t trying to hit Laureano on purpose with a 3-2 breaking ball with the A’s leading, 6-2.

“You wouldn’t ask a young guy to do it anyway, plus there’s no reason for it,” Baker said. “These guys, they’re already beating our brains out. They swept us in the series. There’s no reason to hit anybody. You accept your licking and try to return and reciprocate when you see them next time. I’m sorry things escalated the way they were. I’m sure I’ll be contacted by the league and he’ll be contacted by the league.”

Baker was ejected from the game in the top of the seventh inning Sunday for arguing balls and strikes and said the umpiring crew was on the Astros’ charter from Oakland to Houston after the game.

“I didn’t talk to them about it or anything because it wouldn’t have done any good, but I’m hoping nothing carries over from that series to this series,” he said.

Springer on the mend
Astros center fielder saw a hand specialist Monday in Houston to confirm his right wrist wasn’t broken, Baker said. Springer hasn’t played since he suffered a right wrist strain trying to make a diving catch during Thursday’s game against the D-backs in Phoenix. He was out of the lineup Monday for the fourth game in a row.

“He’s quick to tell me he’s a quick healer,” Baker said. “We’re going to try to do all we can and he’s going to try to do all he can not to go on the IL. We’re playing short a little bit. Time for some other guys to step up that have an opportunity to play and do their thing.”

Springer is off to a slow start at the plate this season, hitting .182 with three homers and 12 RBIs. He was swinging the bat much better in the six games prior to getting hurt, batting .304 with 11 RBIs. He began the season in a 1-for-21 slump and had gone 7-for-23 before getting injured.

Osuna likely out for year
By placing pitcher on the 45-day injured list on Sunday, the Astros essentially are signaling their closer likely won’t return in 2020. Osuna abruptly left the Aug. 1 game against the Angels in Anaheim after throwing a pitch with what the club called right arm discomfort.

There’s been no further word on his condition from the club or the player, but Baker said Monday that Osuna is “still rehabbing it and trying to work through it and trying to get better.”

When asked directly if Osuna could possibly come back at the end of the year, Baker said it depends on how much progress he makes.

“Right now, he’s not in a good way or else we wouldn’t have put him on the 45-day [IL],” Baker said. “That’s not very pleasant news for us or for him. It is what it is. And we’ve got to deal with it. We’ve just got to find a way to replace him even though that’s a very difficult thing to do. We’ve got to mix and match what we’ve done. Some have worked, some haven’t worked. It would help for us to get out on this hitting parade and keep pounding and pounding the ball and put games out of reach.”

Osuna posted a 2.63 ERA with an American League-high 38 saves last season in his first full year in Houston, which acquired him from Toronto two years ago.