10/08/12 7:15 PM ET
Alburquerque apologizes to A's for kiss
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
A day after reliever Al Alburquerque sparked a smidgen of A's ire in Game 2 by fielding a ninth-inning ground ball off the bat of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and kissing the ball before underhanding it to first baseman Prince Fielder, the pitcher apologized for his act.
The kiss was viewed as somewhat bush-league behavior by at least one member of the A's. Josh Reddick called it "immature" and "unprofessional," and the incident was replayed on highlight shows ad nauseam and discussed throughout the night and into the morning.
But during Monday's workouts at Oakland Coliseum, Alburquerque expressed remorse, and the A's seemed to be fine with moving on from the controversy heading into Tuesday's Game 3.
"It was just an expression," Alburquerque said quietly while standing at his locker and attending to a sizable media scrum. "I didn't want to offend. To my friend Cespedes, it was an expression and nothing more. If he felt offended, I apologize. I didn't want it to be anything bad toward them.
"I've never done that before. I didn't plan it. It just came out."
After it happened and the Tigers won, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth to take the first two games at Comerica Park, Cespedes intimated in the A's clubhouse that he would try to hit the ball hard the next time he faced Alburquerque and that he would kiss his bat after doing so.
On Tuesday, Cespedes said it wasn't a serious comment.
Meanwhile, manager Jim Leyland agreed that an apology was in order, although he answered the first question about the issue by cracking, "Well, everybody always says I'm from the old school, so I'd have probably hugged it first.
"No, I don't think it was the right thing to do," he continued. "I will sit here today, and I will not try to defend it. I will say that I can assure everybody, including the Oakland A's, that Alburquerque did nothing intentionally to offend the Oakland A's. He did it, but it was not an intent in any way to offend the Oakland A's. I can assure you of that.
"We don't try to offend anybody. We try to win baseball games. There's a lot of emotion on all teams during the season as well as this time of year. We make no excuses; it happened. It shouldn't have happened. But like I said, in no way, no way, was that meant to offend an opponent, no way.
"We have too much respect for the game. Too much respect for baseball and too much respect for Bob Melvin and the Oakland A's. If that's not acceptable, then people have to deal with it the way they want to deal with it."
Melvin, for one, didn't seem to want to deal with it at all.
"You know what? I respect Jim Leyland about as much as I respect anyone," Melvin said. "I don't think there's one right or wrong way. Emotionally, after a game, when something like that happens, you're always going to hear something from somebody. But you move on. It's not a big deal for me."