News Column

Catcher Partially Bites Ear Off of Dodger Phenom

May 21, 2014

Geoff Grammer, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

Los Angeles Dodgers' prospect Alex Guerrero had his ear partially bitten off in a fight.
Los Angeles Dodgers' prospect Alex Guerrero had his ear partially bitten off in a fight.

Albuquerque Isotopes teammates Miguel Olivo and Alex Guerrero were involved in a scuffle in the team's dugout Tuesday during their game against the Salt Lake Bees, with Guerrero suffering an ear injury and being taken to a Salt Lake City hospital.

With one out in the top of the eighth inning, an argument broke out on the field between Olivo, the team's catcher, and Guerrero, playing shortstop. The scuffle between the two players ensued in the Isotopes dugout, leading to a short delay in the game.

Both players were removed from the game after the altercation.

Tuesday's game, according to the Salt Lake Bees website, was "Prevention Dimension's Kid's Day" with more than 12,000 elementary school kids in attendance.

After the game, Guerrero's agent, Scott Boras, told several media outlets covering the parent Los Angeles Dodgers that Guerrero was having plastic surgery on his ear after the altercation.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweeted, "Agent Scott Boras confirmed that a part of Alex Guerrero's ear was bitten off by Miguel Olivo."

Hernandez also tweeted the Salt Lake Police Department has interviewed Guerrero, who has not decided if he wants to press charges. The Journal contacted Salt Lake Police and requested more information on the incident.

Messages left with Boras and Isotopes manager Damon Berryhill were not returned to the Journal .

The Isotopes directed all Journal inquiries to the Dodgers. In an email, Dodgers spokesperson Joe Jarek wrote:

"The baseball operations department is aware of the altercation and is conducting an investigation into the matter. The organization does not condone this type of behavior and will have no further comment at this time."

According to an email exchange with Salt Lake Tribune reporter Steve Luhm and the Journal , Guerrero and Olivo were seen shouting at each other during a pitching exchange in the bottom of the seventh inning. That came shortly after Bees designated hitter J.B. Shuck stole second base. The Bees had three stolen bases in the game.

The website Stingembees. com, a blog covering Bees games, reported Olivo was growing increasingly agitated throughout the game with the infield's lack of communication and lack of properly covering the bag on stolen base attempts. The Bees won 7-4.

Guerrero, a 27-year-old infielder from Cuba, signed a $28 million, four-year deal with the Dodgers in October. He is hitting .376 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs for the Isotopes this season. He had played second base much of the season, but recently has been used at shortstop.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said this of Guerrero's prospect of joining the big league roster: "We think offensively that he's very close. Defensively, he still needs repetition."

Olivo, 35, also has hit well with the Isotopes. He is at .368 with four homers and 20 RBIs.

Olivo signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers, with a June 1 opt-out, before the season. But then Los Angeles purchased his contract in April, placing him on the 40-man major-league roster. He appeared in eight games for the Dodgers this month, marking his 13th season in the majors.

Olivo has displayed a hot temper on the field before, charging at Jose Reyes and missing with a wild punch during a dustup between the Marlins and Mets late in the 2007 season.

Original headline: Top 'Topes skirmish

Source: (c)2014 Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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