HOUSTON – It's fairly rare for a manager to get ejected during a spring training game, but that's what happened to Astros manager A.J. Hinch on Friday evening. On Sunday morning, Hinch received a one game suspension and was fined for his actions and comments leading up to and following his ejection.
The incident occurred following the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning. Hinch was ejected by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
“The fact that he wanted to throw me out in a spring training game is pretty ridiculous,” Hinch said following Friday's game. “He’s known for overreaction a little bit.”
Hinch’s postgame comments angered Hernandez.
“He said that? Write it,” Hernandez said before adding, “No comment. He got ejected for arguing balls and strikes. That’s it.”
The argument could linger beyond spring training.
“I’m sure we’ll revisit this in-season,” Hinch said.
Hinch said about a week ago Hernandez told him that he gets about four ball-strike calls wrong per game.
After a few of those calls didn’t go Houston’s way in the top of the first inning, Hinch said he calmly made a suggestion to Hernandez as the Astros prepared to bat.
“We have technology to help you get better and that these pitches are strikes,” Hinch said he told Hernandez. “He had kind of an arrogant attitude about it and didn’t want to hear it.”
When Hernandez called the first pitch to Astros leadoff hitter George Springer a strike, Hinch said he thought Hernandez probably made the call out of spite.
From the dugout,Hinch said he yelled to Hernandez that he’d used up his allotment missed calls, prompting the ejection.
Hinch emerged from the dugout and began a lengthy and at times heated conversation with Hernandez at home plate.
“When you argue balls and strikes you get thrown out, I get it,” Hinch said. “As it escalated, he said some condescending things that are inappropriate, unprofessional. I’ll leave it at that and we’ll move on to the next game.”
The team released a statement from Hinch:
“I’m very passionate about our players and our team, but on Friday night I made some emotional comments that took attention away from the play on the field. I take responsibility for my actions and comments and accept the league’s decision. I will serve the suspension today.”