Athletics

MLB rumors: Russell Martin draws free-agent interest from A’s, others

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MLB rumors: Russell Martin draws free-agent interest from A’s, others

The A's are searching high and low for a veteran catcher.

Oakland struck on in their pursuit of Matt Wieters, and now they've reportedly turned their attention to Russell Martin.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that the A's are among several teams that have "checked in on" the veteran catcher.

Martin, 37, spent the 2019 season with the Dodgers, his original organization. In 83 games, he slashed .200/.337/.330 with five doubles, six homers and 20 RBI.

The A's have three catchers on the 40-man roster -- Sean Murphy, Austin Allen and Jonah Heim -- and all three of them are rookies.

Murphy is expected to the opening day starter and will get a majority of the playing time. But it still makes sense for the A's to sign a veteran catcher to mentor the prized prospect.

[RELATED: A's have plenty of outfield options]

As Heyman points out, Martin is not ready to sign with a team right now. But when he is, the A's should make a strong push to add him to the roster.

MLB rumors: Astros coach insulted Ramon Laureano's mom to spark brawl

MLB rumors: Astros coach insulted Ramon Laureano's mom to spark brawl

Don't you dare talk about someone's mom.

Apparently, that was the spark that set off the fiery benches-clearing brawl between the A's and Houston Astros on Sunday at the Coliseum.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, A's center fielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch from Astros reliever Humberto Castellanos. It was the third time in the series, and second time in the game, that Laureano had been plunked, so he wasn't thrilled.

When Laureano reached first base, he could be seen screaming in the direction of the Astros dugout along the first base line. His ire was directed mainly at Houston hitting coach Alex Cintron.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Something was said that caused Laureano to charge the Astros dugout and set off a brawl that surely will have severe consequences.

According to former Astros beat writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz, we now have an idea of what set Laureano off.

Sounds like this is a little more serious than a "Yo Mama" joke.

A's manager Bob Melvin was convinced someone said something offensive, and claimed Laureano wouldn't have charged the Astros dugout if nothing bad was said.

Astros manager Dusty Baker was asked after the game if Cintron made a remark to Laureano about his mother, and Baker said he wasn't sure. But he also said he understands why Latino players get upset when someone references their mother.

[RELATED: Why Laureano was tackled by Astros catcher Garneau]

With no fans in attendance at the Coliseum and TV microphones picking up just about every word uttered on the field, MLB likely will be able to find out exactly what was said between Cintron and Laureano.

Regardless of what was said, expect the league to hand down a hefty suspension for Laureano. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended eight games for throwing at Astros stars Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, which led to benches clearing between the two teams.

Dustin Garneau explains tackling Ramón Laureano during A's-Astros brawl

Dustin Garneau explains tackling Ramón Laureano during A's-Astros brawl

The A’s won 7-2 against the Houston Astros on Sunday to sweep the three-game series, but not without some drama.

The teams cleared the benches after Ramón Laureano charged at Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón for saying something to him. Laureano had just been hit by a pitch for the second time of the day and was walking toward first base.

This was the result:

Former A’s catcher Dustin Garneau could be seen on the NBC Sports California broadcast appearing to grab Laureano and tackle him down to the ground, jumping in between the A's outfielder and several Astros players and coaches including Cintron.

Garneau later told reporters it was a preventative move.

“I was trying to stop the situation before punches were thrown and things got out of hand. That's really my whole goal for that incident,” Garneau said after Sunday’s game.

Garneau, who was standing to the side of Cintrón while the verbal exchange began, said he wasn’t sure what was said between the two.

“My whole point was, he charged our dugout and I was trying to tackle him so nothing would happen and then I held him down there for whenever it was over for the same reason,” Garneau added.

[RELATED: Projection has A's nearly playoff locks]

A’s manager Bob Melvin was asked after the game what was said by Cintrón and was directed toward Laureano.

“I can't tell you that,” he said. 

Both Laureano and A’s catcher Austin Allen were ejected immediately following the scuffle. Nobody from the Astros' dugout was. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]