In the latest incarnation of the never-ending feud between Oakland third baseman Brett Lawrie and the Kansas City Royals, manager Ned Yost said he received a phone call from Angels first baseman Albert Pujols denying he told Lawrie the Royals had done some “bush-league stuff,” as Lawrie told reporters earlier this week.
“He was adamant that he said no such thing,” Yost said before his team faced the White Sox on Thursday.
And so this story reached its seventh day of existence. The controversy began with a takeout slide from Lawrie last Friday and eventually stirred a national debate about the behavior of the Royals. Along the way, the drama included a series of misplaced text messages, a slew of recriminations from both sides and a sextet of Kansas City ejections.
Now it includes a categorical denial of hearsay from Pujols, who attended high school in Independence and college in Kansas City.
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“He was concerned,” Yost said. “He lived in Kansas City. And he’s got a lot of friends in Kansas City. He said he’s got far too much respect for our team and our players to say anything like that. He said he just wanted us to know that that didn’t come from him.”
On Tuesday, after Kelvin Herrera was suspended for throwing behind Lawrie and Yordano Ventura was fined for hitting him, Lawrie relayed to reporters that Pujols agreed with his assessment of the Royals. Earlier this season, Ventura had a spat with Angels superstar Mike Trout, and Angels closer Huston Street told The San Francisco Chronicle he was “shocked” by Kansas City’s play and that it “makes you think less of them professionally.”
But Yost said Pujols reached out to insure that the Royals did not take his alleged comments as fact. Yost told Pujols he wanted to inform the media. Pujols agreed, and so Yost told The Star about the situation on Thursday.
And so, a story without end received more grist for its mill.
“He was upset about it, when it came out,” Yost said. “He had nothing to do with it.”