SEATTLE — Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik said Friday that Mariners minor leaguer Jesus Montero’s season is over after a public altercation with Seattle scout Butch Baccala on Thursday night in Boise.
According to MLB.com, Montero, 24, was on a rehab assignment Thursday evening for the Everett AquaSox in Boise. Montero, unable to play because of an injury, was coaching first base for the AquaSox when Baccala, a cross checker — an upper-level talent scout — began to taunt him from the stands and sent an ice cream sandwich to Montero in the dugout in an apparent hit at his weight.
Enraged, Montero approached the stands with a bat and screamed profanities at the scout. He threw the ice cream sandwich back at Baccala and had to be held back from the stands by Everett pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera, MLB.com reported.
“We are extremely disappointed in both of their actions,” Zduriencik said Friday, according to MLB.com. “It is unacceptable. This organization doesn’t condone that type of behavior. It is being addressed as we speak. There are no excuses for either party. We have none. We don’t intend to make any. It’s something that is extremely disappointing and embarrassing for the organization and for those two individuals.”
Of Montero, Zduriencik said, “He is not going to participate in anymore baseball the rest of the year with us. That’s just the way it is. It’s not going to happen.”
He added: “What we intend to do and what we are in the process of doing in terms of Jesus Montero is we are going to separate the baseball part of Jesus Montero from the human element part of Jesus Montero. Our intent is to address Jesus’ issues.
Zduriencik’s statement said that Baccala “has returned to his home in the Bay Area where he will remain until further notice.”
The ice cream sandwich incident comes as a blow to Montero’s intended rise back to the big leagues. The former catcher and now first basemen, who was formally tagged as a Top-10 Prospect in baseball, has struggled since he arrived to the Mariners in a 2012 trade with the Yankees. He was suspended last year for his involvement with performance enhancing drugs and took more flak for coming to camp overweight.
Montero was hitting well in Triple-A Tacoma this year, however, batting .286/.350/.489 with 16 home runs and 74 RBIs in 97 games with the Rainiers before his injury.
His future with the team — as well as the scout’s — remains to be seen.