Rougned Odor claimed innocence late Friday night after he was involved in a benches-clearing incident following the final out of the Texas Rangers' 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The game ended as Ronald Guzman bounced into a double play, and Odor was out at second base. But Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons took exception to Odor's slide, which clipped Simmons on the left shin.
Odor said that Simmons was angry, saying Odor slid high with his spikes. Odor claimed that the slide was clean, and he felt that way after seeing it on replay.
Angels second baseman Ian Kinsler seemed to be playing mediator, but the benches cleared as Simmons pushed Odor.
"He pushed me," Odor said. "I was surprised because I made a good slide. It was not a dirty slide. I tried to break up the double play with a good slide. That's why I was surprised he pushed me like that."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said afterward that Simmons had been spiked and had a "nasty gash" on his shin. Scioscia had concerns about the slide.
"I think Odor goes in there hard," Scioscia said. "He plays hard like our guys play hard. I think the slide looked like it took a little bit of a veer."
Simmons didn't elaborate on the incident.
"I was just trying to tell him, 'You forgot to say hello to your family for me,'" Simmons said. "He's like, 'No, I didn't forget. I told them.' I was like, 'No, they told me you didn't tell them.' So, he wasn’t very happy about it. It's OK."
Rangers manager Jeff Banister supported the Odor assertion that the slide was clean, saying that Odor was within an arm's reach of the base. Rule 6.01(j) of the MLB rule book is as follows:
Rule 6.01(j): Sliding to Bases on Double Play Attempts
If a runner does not engage in a bona fide slide, and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he should be called for interference under this Rule 6.01. A "bona fide slide" for purposes of Rule 6.01 occurs when the runner:
(1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base;
(2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;
(3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and
(4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.
A runner who engages in a "bona fide slide" shall not be called for interference under this Rule 6.01, even in cases where the runner makes contact with the fielder as a consequence of a permissible slide. In addition, interference shall not be called where a runner's contact with the fielder was caused by the fielder being positioned in (or moving into) the runner's legal pathway to the base.
Notwithstanding the above, a slide shall not be a "bona fide slide" if a runner engages in a "roll block," or intentionally initiates (or attempts to initiate) contact with the fielder by elevating and kicking his leg above the fielder's knee or throwing his arm or his upper body.
If the umpire determines that the runner violated this Rule 6.01(j), the umpire shall declare both the runner and batter-runner out. Note, however, that if the runner has already been put out then the runner on whom the defense was attempting to make a play shall be declared out.
"I thought the slide was appropriate," Banister said. "I didn't see anything I thought should warrant the reaction we got. It's a situation where we are going to continue to play hard baseball, a situation where Rougned made contact with the bag. Not sure why the anxiety."
Odor did not initiate any contact with Simmons during the argument but was moved to the back of the scrum before it broke off and the teams headed to their clubhouses.
"He was angry, but I was like, 'What are you talking about?'" Odor said. "I made a good slide. It was not dirty. Kinsler was talking to me, too, and he was fine. This is part of the game."
Odor, of course, is known across the game for his 2016 brawl with then-Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, who made an illegal slide on a double play in retaliation for being hit by a Matt Bush pitch.
Bautista motioned toward Odor, who landed a clean punch across Bautista's jaw line. The benches cleared and multiple players and coaches were suspended. Odor received an eight-game ban but saw it reduced by one game.
There should be no fallout from the incident Friday night.
"It was a good slide. It was a clean slide," Odor said. "He was telling me it was too high, but it was a good slide. I watched on the television. It was clean."