8/29/2014 8:37 P.M. ET
Mariners address reports of Montero incident
By Doug Miller and Adam Lewis / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The specific details of what occurred between Mariners Minor Leaguer Jesus Montero and Seattle scout Butch Baccala on Thursday night in Boise might forever remain unknown to a large portion of the public.
What is known, however, is that the actions of both men, who by all reported accounts were in a loud and profane altercation in the stands of a Class A Northwest League ballpark, have been deemed unacceptable by the Seattle organization.
And what is also known is that Montero will not be playing baseball in the Mariners organization for the remainder of this season and that the club would like him to address the issues that have led to this incident and other disappointing developments over the last few years.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik initially released a statement on Friday afternoon that communicated the team's disappointment in the incident and indicated that disciplinary action of some degree is to be expected as a result, and later expanded in an interview session with reporters at Safeco Field, where the Mariners prepared to take on the Washington Nationals.
Montero, a 24-year-old first baseman with Triple-A Tacoma who was rehabbing an oblique strain with short-season Everett, was coaching first base while an inning came to a close at Memorial Stadium in the Idaho city, which serves as the home for the Hawks, an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Boise official scorer Liza Safford told MiLB.com that Baccala, an intermediate scout known as a cross-checker, began yelling at Montero to hustle off the field, and then had an ice cream sandwich delivered to Montero in the dugout.
Montero, a one-time top-ranked prospect who came to Seattle in the Jan. 2012 trade from the Yankees for heralded pitching prospect Michael Pineda, had disappointed Seattle's front office by being suspended for PEDs in 2013 and then showing up at this year's Spring Training 40 pounds overweight and telling reporters, "After winter ball, all I did was eat."
The ice cream sandwich-in-the-dugout stunt set Montero off, according to Safford. The first baseman located Baccala in the stadium stands, and, while holding a bat and screaming obscenities, threw the sandwich at the scout. Safford told MiLB.com that Montero had to be restrained by Everett pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera.
Zduriencik said in his initial statement that he received a call at around 9:30 p.m. on Thursday informing him of the altercation, and he immediately began his own internal investigation. On Friday at Safeco, he revealed the results of these findings.
"We are extremely disappointed in both of their actions," Zduriencik said, without detailing the specifics of the altercation. "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."
In the original statement, Zduriencik apologized to the fans in attendance and to the Boise Hawks.
"We recognize that fans, including children, were impacted by this incident, and [inappropriate] language … was used," Zduriencik's statement read. "We recognize the severity of this incident, and want to assure the Hawks and their fans that it will be dealt with appropriately. In addition, I want to thank Todd Rahr, president and general manager of the Boise Hawks, for his assistance in helping me ascertain what occurred last night.
On Friday in Seattle, Zduriencik gave the basics of a blueprint for how the club will handle the aftermath of the incident with the two men.
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.
"There's a history here of things that have happened. We are very, very disappointed in him. I think more than anything else, from a human standpoint, we have to look at Jesus Montero as a person, as a father and as a husband and how can we help Jesus Montero and his family get through this? That's our intent. That's our first and foremost intent.
"We are in the process as we speak. We are going to continue to do that. We have avenues that we intend to go down. And we will have in-depth conversations with Jesus and his family on how we can help him go on with his life. At the end of the day, we all hope that Jesus Montero becomes a big league player and a good big league player. But if that is not the case, then we certainly hope we help Jesus Montero to grow up and be a man and be the kind of father and the kind of husband that he needs."
Baccala, 52, was contacted by The Seattle Times via phone on Friday and told the newspaper that the reports of the incident are not wholly accurate and that he wouldn't be able to elaborate until he spoke with Zduriencik.
"It's not what is being portrayed," Baccala told the newspaper, adding that he was not trying to provoke Montero into any retaliation.
"Of course I wasn't," Baccala said. "Why would I? I work for the Mariners. I've worked my [tail] off for the Mariners. Why would I do anything to hurt anybody? That wasn't even close to the intention.''
Zduriencik's statement said that Baccala "has returned to his home in the Bay Area where he will remain until further notice."
On Friday, Zduriencik said he was not yet prepared to comment on Baccala's future with the organization because he was still looking into the incident.
"We have a lot of information," Zduriencik said. "We've had a lot of conversations. I have talked to Butch myself personally. ... We'll make sure that we dot every I and cross every T. It's something that we intend to fix. And we intend to address both parties accordingly."
Zduriencik also said that he had not yet spoken to Montero.
"I'll wait until he comes back and I'll have my conversation with him face-to-face," Zduriencik said. "There's always two sides to a story, but it really doesn't matter. This incident is of the magnitude that either party should have been more under control. Either party should have been more professional. …
"In the end, I would view this as saying both parties are wrong."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.