Arenado uses ejection as learning moment

3rd baseman knows postseason-hopeful Rockies need him on field

Arenado uses ejection as learning moment

MIAMI -- Nolan Arenado wants to reach the postseason this year, and he knows the Rockies need him more than anyone else to stay on the field while they battle for a National League Wild Card spot.

The All-Star third baseman realized that once he had cooled down following Colorado's 4-3 loss to the Marlins on Saturday night. He was ejected in the seventh by first-base umpire Pat Hoberg after he threw his bat down following Hoberg's decision that he went around on a checked swing on a 2-2 high fastball from Drew Steckenrider.

"These games are too important," Arenado said. "I can't be getting thrown out in these games like this."

Arenado, who jogged down the first-base line to give Hoberg an earful after he was tossed, was replaced by Pat Valaika.

The ejection could have cost the Rockies in the ninth inning. Arenado's spot came up with two outs. The man who's swatted 109 homers over the past three years could've been up with a chance to tie the game.

Instead, it was Valaika, who to his credit reached on a single up the middle. But he never scored. Mark Reynolds walked, and Gerardo Parra struck out to end the game.

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The ejection was a teaching moment for Arenado. Up to that point, he was 0-for-3 and frustrated with his at-bats. That frustration, not an objection to Hoberg's call, was why Arenado said he threw his bat.

"I was kind of surprised because I didn't mean it toward him," Arenado said. "But then I saw the replay, and I could definitely see why he threw me out."

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Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, who managed in Bud Black's absence because of an illness, said he disagreed with the ejection.

"He told me he was instructed to do that when the guy throws his bat and looks up," Redmond said. "So I just explained to him in the calmest voice I have that I thought that was wrong and he didn't have to throw him out. But the damage had already been done."

Considering the Rockies and D-backs are tied in the NL Wild Card standings following Arizona's 6-2 win over the Cubs on Saturday, Colorado can't afford damage like this. They can't afford not having their best playing on the field at all times.

And he's well aware of that.

"Just learn from it and go from there," Arenado said.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Rockies on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.