Garza, Navarro squabble on Sunday
Pitcher, catcher have argument on mound, incident in dugout
ARLINGTON -- Sunday's Rays loss featured a highly visible squabble between starting pitcher Matt Garza and catcher Dioner Navarro.
In the fourth inning things boiled over between the right-hander and his catcher, resulting in a shoving match inside the Rays' dugout.
Garza had just surrendered a single to the Rangers' Ian Kinsler when Navarro made a mound visit. Garza barked into his glove at Navarro. Once the Rays catcher started back toward his position, pitching coach Jim Hickey went to the mound.
"[Garza is] an emotional guy out there on the mound and I was just trying to basically encourage him to channel his emotions more toward the task at hand versus just kind of wasting it out there," Hickey said. "And I thought he did a pretty good job after that, because it was a pretty heated situation out there. I believe he retired the next two guys."
Garza did in fact retire the final two batters of the fourth before continuing to go at it with Navarro once in the dugout. According to several witnesses, no punches were thrown, but TV cameras confirmed the shoving.
"Well, they just had a little bit of a disagreement and it carried over into the dugout," Hickey said. "They straightened it out, basically. Honestly, I don't know if it was over pitch selection or whatever. Obviously, it was something that was bothering both of them and they worked it out."
For the most part the Rays assumed a "keep it in the family" stance.
"Really, you guys, just describe what you saw," manager Joe Maddon said. "Write what you saw. It's something we're going to take care of. And we're going to take care of it soon."
Garza did not return to the mound in the fifth even though he had thrown just 77 pitches, and Maddon confirmed the disagreement had been the reason for Garza's removal. And rather than find both parties equally culpable, Maddon said Navarro was "not the irritant." He summarized by saying: "They had an exchange of ideas."
After speaking to reporters, Maddon spoke to Garza in his office. Garza characterized the content of the meeting as "nothing about today."
"Just some stuff I have to fix, that's about it," Garza said.
Garza said "we definitely can fix [the problem]."
"Just heat of passion," Garza said. "We're both competitors. Whatever happened, we'll just keep it here and we'll fix it. ... This is a great bunch of guys and everybody is on each other's side. We can fix it."
Navarro said the problem was "just something that happened in the game."
"It happens in the family," he said. "I think everybody is going to be fine from this point on. It was really nothing."
When asked if he was "square" with Garza, Navarro replied: "Yeah, we're fine. We're a whole family here. [Little] brother fights against older brother, stuff like that. Everything's straight now."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.