Bay Area Baseball

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August 4, 2013
Garza, Rangers apologize for Twitter comments about Sogards

OAKLAND -- Bob Melvin sat down for his pre-game meeting with reporters today and said with a smile: "No Twitter questions, right?"

Wrong.

Twitter was the main topic of discussion before today's series finale between the A's and the Texas Rangers due to comments posted to the Twitter account of Rangers pitcher Matt Garza on Saturday night after Garza was the losing pitcher in the A's 4-2 win.

If you haven't seen it by now, a condensed version: Garza apparently took issue with the A's frequent bunting in Saturday's game, particularly a squeeze play executed by Sogard in the seventh inning that gave the A's their fourth run. Garza yelled at Sogard as Sogard jogged back to the A's dugout. Sogard said after the game he hadn't heard exactly what Garza said, but wrote it off as being said "in the heat of the moment."

Later Saturday night, comments posted to Garza's protected Twitter account -- viewed on a screen grab -- continued to disparage Sogard and his wife Kaycee. Among the posts by Garza's handle @Gdeuceswild were calling the Sogards "chumps," calling Eric Sogard "childish" and telling Kaycee Sogard -- who earlier had Tweeted that her husband was "probably the last person to respond to getting called names" -- to "keep you (sic) trap shut".

Garza addressed reporters Sunday morning and offered an apology to the Sogards but did not take questions. A Rangers spokesman said the statement offered a "general theme of regret."

Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the team had spoken with Garza regarding the Twitter comments, which the Rangers found "totally inappropriate."

"I think when we acquired him we knew about the fire and passion he was going to display on the field when he was playing and pitching, the fire and passion he would display in the dugout while supporting his teammates," Levine said. "It's our sincere hope that that's where it stays. I don't think it has a place outside of that.

"On behalf of the Texas Rangers we certainly apologize to the Sogards and the Oakland Athletics for what was said. But it's our hope that from his conversation with (reporters) earlier and for us, that we can all move on from here."

Levine said Garza was "very contrite" talking to Rangers management and brought up the idea of getting off Twitter. "That was part of our discussion," Levine said. "I don't know that he has made a commitment."

Backlash on Twitter was fairly heavy toward Garza. Sogard, meanwhile, said he and his wife "kind of took it as a joke." Sogard was at a team event when several A's players told him about Garza's comments.

"We didn't take offense to it at all," Sogard said Sunday. "Who knows if he was still in that heat of the moment, in that game mode? Some guys can let the game go behind them and some guys take it home with them and will be thinking about it all night."

Sogard said he hadn't talked to Garza as of about 10 a.m.. He said his teammates "didn't appreciate what he was saying. But it's just kind of the heat of the moment. ... He was getting fired up in the game and was kind of disappointed he got the loss I'm sure."

Outside of the Rangers brass, in fact, most everybody seemed to be treating the situation as somewhat absurd. Rangers manager Ron Washington said he hadn't talked with Garza and didn't plan to, asking: "What is Twitter?" That led to an impromptu seminar in the visiting manager's office about the uses and logistics of Twitter, with a reporter showing Washington how the social media site looks on a smartphone and another explaining how quickly it allows news can be disseminated across the country.

"I don't want no part of that," Washington said.

A's manager Bob Melvin said he had Twitter on his phone during spring training -- for three days. "It was exhausting," he said. "I read the newspaper."

Melvin said he doesn't follow Twitter, even though a significant percentage of the A's clubhouse is active on the site, and that, "I just get amused in the morning when I hear about it."

Asked for his reaction to the Garza comments, he said: "I really don't have a reaction. That's between tow others in a world that I'm not part of." Melvin added he doesn't think this will add anything to the budding rivalry between the A's and Rangers.

"It's already a good one based on what happened last year and where we both are this year," Melvin said. "And there are going to be some highly emotional games because of that."

* Whew. Now that's out of the way, the A's and Rangers are playing a baseball game this afternoon -- and neither Garza, of course, or Sogard are in their teams' starting lineups.

Here's the A's lineup against Rangers left-hander Derek Holland:

DH Crisp
SS Lowrie
3B Donaldson
LF Cespedes
1B Freiman
2B Callaspo
CF Young
RF Reddick
C Norris

And the Rangers lineup against A's right-hander A.J. Griffin:

RF Martin
SS Andrus
2B Kinsler
3B Beltre
C Pierzynski
DH Cruz
LF Murphy
CF Gentry
1B Moreland

* Melvin said catcher Stephen Vogt passed a battery of concussion tests and is available off the bench today after being hit on the back of the head by Jurickson Profar's follow-through swing Saturday. Vogt stayed in the game originally but left two innings later after taking a foul ball off the face mask

Melvin said Vogt has "literally a knot on his head," and Vogt said he's still a little sore but "good to go."

* Concussed catcher John Jaso, meanwhile, underwent more tests Saturday but is still not cleared for baseball activity. "I think we're close to baseball activity," Melvin said, "but still not there yet."

* Melvin was also asked about his thoughts on resolution to the Biogenesis scandal being expected to come down Monday in the form of suspensions and indicated there will be no punishment for right-hander Bartolo Colon, who served a 50-game suspension for PED use at the end of last season.

"I think everybody'll probably be relieved by (resolution), and it doesn't appear we're affected by it," Melvin said. "I think it's dominated the news here recently, and I think everybody would like to see it go away."

Regarding Colon, Melvin said: "I don't know anything for sure." But recent reports have placed Colon among several players with ties to the Biogenesis clinic who could escape the latest round of discipline because they have served previous suspensions.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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