SARASOTA, Fla. -- Catcher Chris Robinson returned to Orioles camp on Wednesday after playing a key role in a brawl in last week’s World Baseball Classic pool play game between Canada and Mexico.
Robinson, the starting catcher for Canada, reached on a bunt single in the ninth inning with Canada comfortably leading Mexico 9-3. The Mexican team didn’t like that, and Mexico pitcher Arnold Leon threw two pitches near the next batter, Rene Tosoni, before plunking him with the third. That incited a benches clearing brawl.
One of the WBC’s pool tiebreakers is run differential, so even though the Canadians had a comfortable lead, they essentially needed to run up the score because Italy had taken charge of the pool by starting 2-0.
“We were told about it at the beginning of the tournament,” Robinson said of the rule. “We have a specific meeting on that. Sometimes the unwritten rules we play with here don’t really apply there because of runs. Yeah, I think you’re a little surprised when a guy misses two times and then comes back at him a third time. At that point, you just have to stand up for yourself. I think that’s what we did.”
Robinson, who was 5-for-9 in three WBC games, said he’s been involved in scrums during his pro career but none like this one, with several punches being thrown.
“It’s not the more comfortable feeling,” Robinson said. “It’s not like a hockey fight where you guys drop your gloves and you look at each other and start fighting. You kind of have to keep your head on a swivel and people are coming at you from all angles. Anybody who’s been involved in a fight like that before knows that.
“I think the disappointing part is that, yes it got a lot of press, but it took away from an unbelievable baseball game. There was a lot of really good baseball being played in that game and a lot of hard baseball and everyone wanted to prove it being built up to that and it wasn’t. It was just two teams playing really hard and playing for their lives really. It was a really great baseball game before that. I think that was the disappointing part.”
The win over Mexico was a big one for Canada, but Robinson's team was eliminated by the U.S. the next day in a do-or-die game.
“I thought even to the last out, we played with a lot of heart,” Robinson said. “There is a lot of talk about how we had a great tournament but everyone in that locker room was disappointed we still aren’t playing. We proved we could play at that level and yeah, it’s disappointing we’re not there but I think we proved to a lot of people that baseball in Canada is a big deal to a lot of people.
“It’s over with,” Robinson added. “Boys will be boys and I think when the dust settes they’ll understand that it’s just kind of part of the game and move on from there.”
Around the horn
Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen threw at the Orioles minor league complex Wednesday so he could stay on his regular schedule. He will pitch again in a minor league game Monday at Twin Lakes Park against a Class-A Tampa Bay Rays affiliate while the big league team is off. … Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will pitch against the Boston Red Sox’s Double-A squad in a game Friday at Twin Lakes Park. Manager Buck Showalter likes keeping his pitchers on schedule and doesn’t like them to face American League East rivals, if possible, as the regular season approaches. … Kevin Gausman will start Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays in Sarasota. Dylan Bundy will follow him — the second time in a week the club’s top two pitching prospects will appear in the same game. … Steve Johnson (St. Paul’s) will start Sunday’s split-squad home game against the Minnesota Twins, while Jason Hammel will start in Clearwater against the Philadelphia Phillies.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun