Galarraga, Avila argue in Tigers dugout
Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga and catcher Alex Avila had to be separated by teammates during a dugout dispute in the second inning of Galarraga’s start Sunday against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Galarraga had finished off the White Sox in the bottom of the first inning when he jogged into the dugout and went directly to Avila, his catcher, to have words. The dispute quickly escalated to the point that several teammates, including Johnny Damon, intervened. Fellow catcher Gerald Laird got involved, initially to break up the incident, then appeared to start arguing with Galarraga as well before shortstop Ramon Santiago pulled Galarraga away and sat him down.
It was an bizarre altercation to have for a pitching-catching battery that had just finished off a scoreless opening inning. Galarraga retired Chicago’s first two batters and had a two-strike count on Paul Konerko before giving up a single to left. Galarraga threw four straight two-seam fastballs to Konerko, according to MLB.com’s Gameday application.
In the larger context of Galarraga’s season, though, the dispute might be a sign of the larger issue the Tigers have had with him: Finding his confidence. Manager Jim Leyland has said often over the last couple weeks that Galarraga has to trust his ability more and pitch more aggressively to hitters rather than nibbling on the corners.
Galarraga worked with Laird in his last start and seemingly battled his command as well as confidence. He missed his spots badly on some pitches, usually more away from the strike zone.
Galaraga has plenty of reason for his own frustration. He’s winless in his last seven starts and entered the day with a 1-4 record and 5.10 ERA in 11 starts since his would-be perfect game June 2.