Jose Bautista on Rougned Odor: It takes a bigger man to knock me down
Jose Bautista was rocked in the jaw by Texas Rangers infielder Rougned Odor on Sunday, and the Toronto Blue Jays slugger will no doubt be feeling sore for a few days. However, Bautista was quick to point out after the game that he did not hit the ground.
While ripping the Rangers for being “cowardly,” Bautista also chastised Odor.
“He got me pretty good so I have to give him that,” Bautista said, per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “But it takes a little bit of a bigger man, I guess, to knock me down.”
Sunday’s brawl began when Rangers pitcher Matt Bush hit Bautista with a fastball in the top of the 8th. When the next batter hit a ground ball, Bautista tried to take Odor out with a slide at second base. Odor thought the play was dirty, and he responded by punching Bautista in the face with a right hook. You can see the video here.
There was already bad blood between Bautista and the Rangers over Joey Bats unleashing the most vicious bat flip in MLB history (watch it here) during the playoffs last year. Bautista ripped the Rangers for the way they handled things.
“It shows at least the apparent lack of leadership they have over there when it comes to playing baseball the right way,” he said. “Baseball plays are supposed to be taken care of by baseball plays. I thought it was pretty cowardly of them to wait until my last at-bat to do that, in the whole series. They could have come out and done it if they just wanted to kind of send a message. It shows a little bit more of their colors.”
Perhaps most entertaining of all, Bautista thought he deserved credit for not injuring Odor with his slide.
“I had a hard slide at second base,” he said. “I could have injured him, I chose not to. I just tried to send a message that I didn’t appreciate getting hit.”
The rivalry between these two teams has really heated up. It’s probably safe to assume this won’t be the last altercation.