Royals stand by Ventura after third incident in month
'We're a family in here,' says Cain, who is also ejected
By John Jackson
Special to MLB.com |
CHICAGO -- Regardless of what others around Major League Baseball may think about him, Yordano Ventura still seems to have the unwavering support of his teammates in the Royals clubhouse -- despite being involved in another incident Thursday night against the White Sox.
The Royals posted a 3-2 victory in 13 innings, but that was a footnote because of an altercation after the seventh inning ignited by Ventura yelling a profanity at Adam Eaton of the White Sox after fielding a comebacker and before throwing to first base.
It's the third controversial on-field incident with Ventura this month.
"He's a young kid," center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "He was a little aggressive tonight, but at the same time, we're gonna back our teammates regardless. That's what we do. We're a family in here."
Cain, who got into a tussle with Jeff Samardzija of the White Sox, was one of five players ejected. Ventura and Edinson Volquez of the Royals also were ejected, as were Samardzija and Chris Sale of the White Sox.
Still, the postgame focus was on Ventura -- again -- and how the 23-year-old needs to do a better job of controlling his emotions.
"Yeah, that was our conversation after the game," manager Ned Yost said. "You know, he's a young guy. I had trouble learning to control my emotions when I was young. It's something you have to continue to work on. He knows it. It just comes out. He's a competitive guy. He's going to work on controlling his emotions from here out."
Ventura was ejected from his previous start last Saturday against the Athletics after hitting Brett Lawrie with a pitch. Before that, Ventura had words with the Angels' Mike Trout.
When asked if he was disappointed that the message hadn't gotten through before Thursday, Yost said: "You know how many times my mom had to tell me things before I finally heard it? It takes time."
Ventura, speaking through a translator, seemed apologetic afterward.
"The last three outings my emotions have spilled over and gotten the better of me," he said. "I'm an emotional pitcher but I need to work on controlling my emotions. I want to do that. Moving forward I certainly want to avoid the way [things] have ended. I'll use the emotions to pitch and not go over the top."
Of course, Ventura wasn't completely responsible for things getting out of hand. Eaton did yell something at him and there's been bad blood between the teams dating back to the Opening Day game in Kansas City when Samardzija hit Cain following a Mike Moustakas home run.
"For me, I'm not a big fan of him," Cain said of Samardzija. "I don't know what the deal is. We're just gonna try and clean it up and play some baseball tomorrow. We'll see what happens."
Two batters were hit with pitches earlier in the game -- Jose Abreu of the White was hit by Ventura and Moustakas by Sale -- but Yost doesn't believe that was an issue despite both teams being warned after the second hit-by-pitch.
"I was surprised," Yost said of the warnings. "[Moustakas] got hit with a changeup. Abreu got hit with a two-strike pitch trying to go up and in. Abreu knew that wasn't intentional and we knew [Sale hitting Moustakas] wasn't intentional."
Worse for Yost was that the brawl overshadowed a fine performance on the mound by the Royals bullpen -- extending its scoreless-innings streak to 28 -- and Ventura, who allowed just two runs on five hits in seven innings.
"He looked great," Yost said. "Until Eaton hit the ground ball, he did a magnificent job of maintaining his composure, staying within himself, executing his pitches. I was really pleased with him until all that stuff happened."
But none of that will matter to Ventura's reputation around baseball.
"I understand where that's coming from," Yost said. "He's a young guy, he's an emotional guy, but as I've tried to explain to him, teams are gonna try and take him out of his game. That's what they're gonna do. They're going to scream at him, they're gonna yell at him. His stuff's good; they don't want him on that mound.
"He's got to learn to understand that he's a really good pitcher and teams are gonna try and take him out of his game."
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.