Toronto Blue Jays plunk Tampa Bay Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier in wake of scouting-card drama


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — So much for that water under the bridge.

Just one day after Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo downplayed the fact that Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier had scooped up a scouting card that fell out of Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk’s wristband as “agua under the bridge,” fireworks erupted on Wednesday.

In the eighth inning of the series finale, Toronto pitcher Ryan Borucki plunked Kiermaier to open the frame. Words were exchanged, and both dugouts quickly emptied. While the two teams never came together, Borucki was ejected for his actions, prompting Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo and enraged pitching coach Pete Walker to storm out of the dugout to argue as players spilled onto the field. Walker also was tossed, and there were no incidents between the players.

“Oh yeah, it was intentional,” Kiermaier said of Borucki, who hit him with his first pitch in the eighth during the Rays’ 7-1 victory, which clinched a postseason berth.

“Pretty much almost went behind me,” Kiermaier said. “I thought it was a weak move, to be quite honest. It’s over. It didn’t hurt by any means, so I don’t care. Whatever. We move on. We got a series win, and I hope we play those guys, I really do.”

When asked why he wants to face Toronto again, Kiermaier replied: “The motivation is there. That’s all that needs to be said.”

Borucki, for his part, said he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Kiermaier.

“I wanted to go down and away, as I was coming forward I felt the ball slip out of my hand and I missed up and in, and I accidentally hit him,” Borucki said. “They can think want they want over there in their locker room, but it is what it is.”

Borucki was tossed by crew chief Joe West.

“I was just like, I missed arm-side, like I miss arm-side a lot,” Borucki said. “I pitch inside all the time, and he was like, ‘You’ve just got to go.”’

Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe called the hit by pitch “kind of bush league,” while manger Kevin Cash said he was disappointed.

Montoyo said Kiermaier was not hit intentionally, maintaining he didn’t want to use another pitcher in the one-sided game.

“Pete’s reaction told me everything about it,” Montoyo said. “He missed. He hit him, but I understand what it looks like. I understood how the Rays got upset about it. That thing was on for two days.”

Prior to Wednesday’s game, Kiermaier expressed his disbelief with the amount of negative attention the story had generated, calling it “hard to believe.”

Kiermaier was called out sliding into home during the sixth inning of the Rays’ 6-4 win Monday night and saw a strip of paper lying next to him after the play. He casually picked it up and took it back to Tampa Bay’s dugout, where he handed it to Paul Hoover, the club’s field coordinator.

Kiermaier thought the card was his scouting report.

“We’re making this way too complex,” Kiermaier said. “I saw a few words on it, just knowing it wasn’t mine I didn’t look at it, still haven’t looked at it. Don’t even know what the heck is on it.

“A couple seconds after, I realized it wasn’t ours and at that point, I’m not giving it back,” Kiermaier added. “I’m not going to walk to the other dugout or find another way. They can think whatever they want over there, they’re entitled to an opinion. I’m over it, though.”

Cash apologized to Blue Jays management before Tuesday night’s game.

Kiermaier pointed out his scouting card came out when he slid into second base during a recent game against Detroit and Tigers infielder Niko Goodrum tried grabbing it. Kiermaier jokingly put his foot on it and said, “You can’t have it.”

When asked if he did anything wrong, Kiermaier replied: “No.”

“It’s easy to sit here after the fact knowing it’s their card, I understand,” Kiermaier said. “At that moment I just ran 360 feet-plus [trying to score on an infield hit and throwing error] and I’m sitting there trying to process the play, thinking my scouting report is on the ground, grabbing it, just walking back trying to go out there on defense and catch my breath thinking it’s done and over with.”

There were no incidents in Tuesday’s game stemming from the situation.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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