Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar suffered a mild left knee sprain and a contusion and left Friday night’s 6-4 victory over Oakland at Kauffman Stadium following a controversial slide by the A’s Brett Lawrie.
After Stephen Vogt homered to tie the score at 4-4, Lawrie singled off Kelvin Hererra. Then the ball off the bat of Josh Riddick ricocheted off the back of Herrera’s leg to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who tossed to Escobar, who was covering second.
Lawrie came in late and spikes high to the third-base side of the bag, catching Escobar on the left calf.
After the game, A’s manager Bob Melvin said Escobar was standing on second base trying to turn a double play.
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“The only thing he can do is try to go around him, he can’t do that,” Melvin said of Lawrie.
“He’s an aggressive player and it was an aggressive slide, but there was a reason for it.”
Royals manager Ned Yost said it wasn’t a dirty slide but rather a late one.
“It was a hard slide … but I don’t think Lawrie was anticipating the throw from Moose,” Yost said. “When (Lawrie) looked and saw Moose shuffle, he slid late.”
On whether it was the right play for Moustakas to try for the out at second base instead of first, Yost agreed.
“You’re trying to keep that lead run from getting in scoring position,” he said.
After Lawrie slid, Escobar crumpled. Almost before he hit the ground, Omar Infante, standing a few feet away, raised his arms in concern.
Escobar was in pain and was helped off the field. But before that happened, the dugouts and bullpens emptied. Lawrie and Moustakas appeared to be jawing at each other but the argument never rose to a physical level.
After the game, Lawrie said he was trying to make sure Escobar was OK.
“After that things kind of got into a scuffle,” Lawrie said, adding, “I’m not trying to hurt anybody.”
The immediate concern was Escobar’s health. The Royals have already lost one starter, Alex Rios, to a fractured bone in his hand after being hit by a pitch earlier in the week.
Escobar’s status was described as day to day by the team.