After Rocco Baldelli threw his hat, lambasted the umpires and unleashed an expletive-laden rant in his postgame comments Sunday, Major League Baseball fined the Twins manager an undisclosed amount late Tuesday.
But he avoided any suspension, which is some consolation after an overturned call at home plate ended up allowing the winning run in Sunday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Blue Jays.
"It was absolutely the right thing to do by every measure," Baldelli said. "I couldn't give you one reason why I wouldn't go out there and do that in that situation."
With Whit Merrifield on third in the 10th inning, Toronto's Cavan Biggio hit a potential sacrifice fly to left field. Tim Beckham grabbed it and made a perfect toss, which catcher Gary Sanchez caught in time to tag out Merrifield as he slid feet first toward home plate. That's how the umpires called it on the field, at least. Toronto challenged, alleging Sanchez didn't give Merrifield a lane to the plate, and the New York-base replay team agreed, overturning the call and giving Toronto the lead.
Baldelli was incensed, completely out of character for the usually even-keeled manager. That tirade led to his third ejection of the season. And while Baldelli said he is ready to move forward from what he feels is an unfair situation, there wasn't much closure to be had.
He's had two conversations with MLB, with the consensus being that the rule has always and will likely continue to be hard to define. But this call has come up several times already in August, which is unusual, so Baldelli is more concerned about the recent reverse from the precedent.
Baldelli talked with Mike Hill, MLB's senior vice president for on-field operations, and Matt McKendry, senior director for umpire operations. They walked Baldelli and some other Twins staffers through the rule and reiterated why they thought the overturn was accurate. Baldelli disagreed.
"I don't know if, on every point of this, we're going to all get together and come into accord and have some sort of agreement," Baldelli said. "… Sometimes, you just have to talk through things and understand to the best extent we can what's going to be expected going forward, and then play from there."
Fellow catcher Sandy Leon said the catchers and their coach, Hank Conger, have talked about it but still feel Sanchez did everything right, especially remarkable considering how fast those plays develop, and the catcher doesn't always have time to think through his motions, just react.
"It hurt because it was the winning run," Leon said. "… It's tough. Sometimes you keep a lane for the runner before everything happens, when the ball is coming, you cannot think about, 'I'm going to put my leg, foot first and then catch the ball.'
"It's a lot of stuff going on at that moment. So, try to do better, try to keep the lane for the runner, maybe? And we'll see what happens."
Kirilloff surgery successful
Outfielder Alex Kirilloff had his second right wrist surgery in as many years Tuesday in Los Angeles, this time to shorten his ulnar bone by a few millimeters to prevent some of the bone-on-bone pain he feels when he swings because of damage to the cartilage there. It ended his season, just as the 2021 surgery did to repair a torn ligament in the area.
Kirilloff's agent, Scott Boras — who also represents Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, Ryan Jeffers, Chris Paddack and Kenta Maeda — was in attendance at Tuesday's Dodgers game and said Kirilloff and well-known surgeon Dr. Steven Shin received "a very good result" from the operation.
"I talked to him when he was in San Diego when he came out and said, 'Look, the most important thing we can do: You're a young player, you're a great player, but we've got to get you back to your optimal, to your 100 percent,' " Boras said. "… I just think it was the best step for him to be the Alex Kirilloff that the Minnesota Twins signed, and we all expect him to be."
The procedure is a bit unique when it comes to professional athletes, but Boras said the doctors felt comfortable performing it because of how conservative the treatment had been before then, including cortisone shots, physical rehab and the first surgery.
Kirilloff was one of the Twins' top prospects and has played left field and first base the past two seasons. He played 59 games in 2021, batting .251 with eight home runs and 34 RBI, plus 11 doubles and a triple. In 2022, he played 45 games hitting .250 with three homers, 21 RBI and seven doubles.
• Baldelli said reliever Emilio Pagan, who left Sunday's game after facing three batters in the sixth because of an oblique cramp, is "in a good spot physically." He did some work pregame Tuesday and was able to enter the game in the seventh inning.
• Starter Bailey Ober, in Fort Myers, Fla., recovering from a groin injury, threw a 20-pitch bullpen Tuesday without issue and is still tracking for a comeback late this season.
• Reliever Tyler Duffey, whom the Twins designated for assignment over the weekend, officially cleared waivers Monday, and the Twins released him.