Laureano regrets role in scuffle with Astros

OF grateful for intervention from former A’s teammate Garneau

August 11th, 2020

With a day to reflect on his actions that started a benches-clearing scuffle in Sunday’s game against the Astros, A’s outfielder expressed regret.

While Laureano maintains that he only charged toward Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron as a result of the coach yelling offensive remarks about his mother, he admitted on Monday afternoon that he let his emotions get the best of him. He acknowledged it was irresponsible to do, especially during a time in baseball when fighting and instigating fights are strictly prohibited due to heightened safety protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t take what [Cintron said] very lightly, and I don’t think anybody would,” Laureano said. “It’s just a tough situation. I reacted that way unfortunately during very hard times when it comes to social distancing during the pandemic. I look like a not very smart guy. When you’re very emotional, especially about your mother, it’s just tough.”

Laureano was hit in the middle of the back with a 3-2 breaking pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning by Astros rookie pitcher Humberto Castellanos. Laureano, who was traded from the Astros in 2017, gestured toward Castellanos and exchanged words with him while walking down to first base. When Laureano was standing on first, he argued with Cintron and then charged Houston’s dugout.

It was the second consecutive plate appearance in which Laureano was hit by a pitch. He was hit three times overall during the three-game series, and the A’s were hit a total of five times by Astros pitchers. Laureano said he does not believe any of the instances were intentional.

“[The Astros] have quite a bit of arms that haven’t reached Triple-A, so the command might not be there on some pitches,” Laureano said. “They’re great pitchers, but because of the situation, they got called up a little quicker. It’s just hard when you’re getting thrown pretty aggressively for no reason. I just want to go out and play.”

Major League Baseball had yet to issue discipline Monday afternoon ahead of a three-game series opener against the Angels in Los Angeles, which had Laureano in the A’s starting lineup. Laureano fully expects to be suspended, which would be a blow to Oakland given that he is slashing .278/.406/.519 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored through 16 games.

Following Sunday’s contest, A’s manager Bob Melvin said Cintron should also be punished for inciting Laureano, as he saw the coach clearly waving Laureano over to the Astros’ dugout on video. Laureano said Cintron broke an unwritten rule.

“He went too far and then told me to charge him. I told him to get out of here. He said it again, and that’s what happened,” Laureano said. “You can’t be doing that as a coach. He was wrong for doing that. But I’m a man. I couldn’t keep my cool, and I should have. I wasted my time with that guy.”

Looking back on the situation with a clear mind, Laureano was grateful for Astros catcher , who tackled him before he was able to reach Cintron. Garneau is well-liked throughout the league, and Laureano called him one of the best teammates he ever had, as both were together last season with Oakland. Laureano said that Garneau’s move prevented an ugly situation from escalating.

“Huge credit to him,” Laureano said. “He protected me while we were in the pile. I thank him a lot for that. Because it would have been worse. The whole thing would have gone wrong.”