Arnold Leon, a relief pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, is being sent down to the minors after his involvement in the World Baseball Classic incident that shocked the international tournament.
Leon was on the mound when the benches cleared and a brawl broke out between Team Mexico and Team Canada this past weekend. With Canada leading 10-3, Chris Robinson decided to lead off the ninth inning with a bunt. The play appeared disrespectful to the casual observer, but was actually a legitimate move considering the WBC takes margin of victory into account when deciding a tiebreaker.
Unfortunately, Mexico’s third baseman Luis Cruz did not like what he saw and could be seen clear as day telling Leon to bean the next batter. It took Leon three pitches to finally strike Rene Tosoni, but it is the fact that everyone in the ballpark knew what he was doing that led to the benches being cleared. Tosoni charged the mound, players from both teams threw punches and the baseball world was forced to see their ugliest incident of the year happen in March, assuming nothing crazier than this happens in a game this upcoming season.
The 24-year-old will begin the 2013 season in Triple-A in the Pacific Coast League and will have to earn the respect of the organization if he wants to ever step foot in the big leagues. In three games this spring, Leon posted a 6.00 ERA with one save in three innings.
The chances of Leon making the Athletics Opening Day roster appeared to be slim to none anyways, but the horrific incident certainly did not help his chances.