Chris Sale didn’t deny on Friday that he went to the Royals clubhouse in anger after Thursday’s brawl and several sources said Alex Rios maintained the peace.
One of five players ejected from a contest the Kansas City Royals won 3-2 in 13 innings, Sale traveled the main tunnel from the home clubhouse on the third base side over to the visiting clubhouse on the first base side.
Reportedly, Sale’s intent was to confront Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura, who exchanged words with White Sox leadoff hitter Adam Eaton at the conclusion of the seventh inning. Even though he wasn’t there, Kansas City pitcher Edinson Volquez, who also was ejected, said teammates confirmed Sale knocked on the clubhouse door. At some point, Rios, who played with Sale from 2010-13, intervened and calmed down the three-time All-Star.
“All emotions are running high at that point,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I just found out about it. You got to have a conversation and you move on from there. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and nothing happened.”
Sale was asked about the incident and said he wants to move on — “We’re not boxers, we’re baseball players,” he said. The left-hander said on Thursday night he didn’t even know he had been ejected from the game until an inning later. Asked about potential suspensions stemming from the incident, Sale said the club would handle it and move forward.
“I mean, there’s really nothing to talk about,” Sale said. “It is what it is. What’s done is done. It’s all in the past. Baseball’s a day-to-day sport. Every day is a new day. So anything that happened yesterday, we’re ready to win a ballgame today and we’re just ready to put this all behind us. Come in every day ready to win and that’s what we’re ready to do.”
This isn’t the first time Sale has been attached to a high-profile incident.
Last September, benches cleared after Sale hit Detroit’s Victor Martinez in a strange series of events in which the pitcher insinuated Martinez was cheating.
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During the 2013 season, Sale also hit Prince Fielder with a pitch during a tense July game in Detroit in which he later apologized to both the batter and Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Jeff Samardzija, Lorenzo Cain and Ventura were also ejected from Thursday night’s game. Tensions have been brewing between the two clubs since Opening Day when Samardzija hit Cain with a pitch after giving up a home run to Mike Moustakas. The two clubs have combined to hit eight batters in their first four meetings of the season.
“There were other guys there to cool (Sale) down and nothing happened,” Robin Ventura said. “I think those are things that guys react and are emotional and other guys are able to head it off and do it just like guys do on the field. There are guys out there trying to make it peaceful, and there were guys that weren’t. Everybody reacts different in those situations.”