Posted on August 23, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The Oakland Athletics placed designated hitter Billy Butler on the 7-day concussion DL on Monday. The move all but confirms that Butler suffered a concussion during an altercation with teammate Danny Valencia last Friday. Butler has not played since the incident with manager Bob Melvin telling the media over the weekend that Butler was suffering from nausea and vomiting. Details are now starting to emerge about the altercation itself.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported late Monday that the incident began prior to batting practice on Friday when Butler interrupted a conversation between Valencia and a representative from an equipment company. Butler apparently told the representative that Valencia had been wearing spikes that were not inline with his contract, implying the company should terminate its endorsement deal with Valencia.
After the representative left the clubhouse, Valencia said to Butler: “Don’t you ever loud-talk me in front of a rep,” adding, “That was wrong,” as he walked toward Butler.
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According to the Chronicle’s sources, Butler replied: “I can say whatever I want, and your bitch ass isn’t going to do anything about it.”
A physical altercation soon ensued, although exact details of that are yet unknown other than reports of Valencia striking Butler in the temple, which may have been the blow that caused Butler’s concussion. The fight was said to be quite brief before being broken up. The report in the Chronicle states that the two have not spoken since the altercation.
Butler did not speak to the media on Monday. Valencia, however, when asked about his relationship with Butler, said: “He’s just my teammate. I have respect for him. I hope he has respect for me. That’s it.” Both players have been fined an undisclosed amount by the team, but neither will be suspended. “What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse,” Valencia added. “We’ve handled it internally, and we’re going to move on from this point. There’s really not much else to it.”
The A’s are now hoping to move on from this incident as soon as possible. “This is not the first time guys have gotten into a fight in the clubhouse,” Oakland GM David Forst said. “Unfortunately, when you’re having the kind of season that we’re having, it’s a big story. If we were winning, it would be colorful, but we’re not.” Forst added: “We’re moving past it. That’s it. I wasn’t there, Billy [Beane] wasn’t there, the manager didn’t see it. I’m not getting into he said-he said recounting what happened, so from the organization standpoint, it’s resolved and we’re moving past it.”
Melvin says he spoke to the team on Sunday without either Butler or Valencia present. “You’re not always going to get along great, but I expect us to be fine going forward,” Melvin said. He added: “It’s been a really difficult season, but no one ever said it was going to be great every year.” The A’s are currently 19 games under .500 and in a tight battle with the Los Angeles Angels to avoid a last place finish in the AL West.