A Mariners scout who reportedly heckled Mariners first basemen Jesus Montero—which led to an altercation at a minor league game in Boise on Thursday night—has been taken off the road, while the Mariners have told Montero he won’t play again this season.
Mariners' crosschecker Butch Baccala reportedly yelled at Montero—rehabbing an oblique injury at short-season Everett—for not leaving the field as quickly as Baccala would have liked at the end of an inning. Montero had been coaching first base.
Quoting the Boise official scorer, Milb.com reported that Baccala then had an ice cream sandwich delivered to Montero in the dugout—a dig at Montero's weight. Montero then left the dugout and approached the scout in the stands, throwing the dessert at him before being pulled away.
Baccala told the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker that he was the scout in Boise, but said the incident did not happen as it has been reported and said he couldn't say anything further until he talks to Mariners' general manager Jack Zduriencik.
He did say he wasn't antagonizing Montero.
"Of course I wasn't,'' Baccala told The Seattle Times. "Why would I? I work for the Mariners. … Why would I do anything to hurt anybody? That wasn't even close to the intention.''
In a press conference Friday night, Zduriencik addressed the incident.
“We are extremely disappointed in both of their actions,” he told reporters before the Mariners’ game against the Nationals. “It is unacceptable. This organization doesn't condone that type of behavior. It is being addressed as we speak. There are no excuses for either party. We have none. We don't intend to make any. It's something that is extremely disappointing and embarrassing for the organization and for those two individuals.
Montero was acquired by the Mariners from the Yankees before the 2012 season in a trade involving Michael Pineda. He's been a massive disappointment over the past few years thanks to poor production, but his relationship with the Mariners became much worse this year when he showed up to spring training significantly overweight. He's played only six games for the Mariners this year, spending most of the year at Triple-A Tacoma.
Zduriencik told The Seattle Times Montero was headed back to Seattle from his rehab assignment, but “He is not going to participate in anymore baseball the rest of the year with us. That's just the way it is. It's not going to happen. He's back here. On his way back. Like I said, we've already begun a process of setting up a program where we can sit with him and talk with him and we're going to go further than that. I'm not prepared to release all the details of that at this point in time, but again we'll go back to what I said earlier. Our purpose is to help him first and foremost get his life together and be able to assist him and his family."
As for Baccala’s future with the team, Zduriencik said, “We’ll see. I'm not prepared to comment on it right now because I think what we're going to do is we have a investigation going on.”
The 52-year-old Baccala was sent home, Zduriencik said.