Toronto Blue Jays plunk Tampa Bay Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier in wake of scouting-card drama

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — So much for that water under the bridge.

Just one day after Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo downplayed the fact that Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier had scooped up a scouting card that fell out of Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk’s wristband as “agua under the bridge,” fireworks erupted on Wednesday.

In the eighth inning of Wednesday’s series finale, Toronto pitcher Ryan Borucki plunked Kiermaier to open the frame. Words were exchanged and both dugouts quickly emptied. While the two teams never came together, Borucki was ejected for his actions, setting off Rays pitching coach Pete Walker, who berated the umpires for the ejection and was later tossed himself. There were no incidents between the players.

The Rays won the game 7-1. Afterward Borucki said he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Kiermaier.

Prior to Wednesday’s game, Kiermaier expressed his disbelief with the amount of negative attention the story had generated, calling it “hard to believe.”

Kiermaier was called out sliding into home during the sixth inning of the Rays’ 6-4 win Monday night and saw a strip of paper lying next to him after the play. He casually picked it up and took it back to Tampa Bay’s dugout, where he discreetly handed it to Paul Hoover, the club’s field coordinator.

Kiermaier thought the card was his scouting report.

“We’re making this way too complex,” Kiermaier said. “I saw a few words on it, just knowing it wasn’t mine I didn’t look at it, still haven’t looked at it. Don’t even know what the heck is on it.

“A couple seconds after, I realized it wasn’t ours and at that point, I’m not giving it back,” Kiermaier added. “I’m not going to walk to the other dugout or find another way. They can think whatever they want over there, they’re entitled to an opinion. I’m over it, though.”

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash apologized to Blue Jays management before Tuesday night’s game.

Kiermaier pointed out his scouting card came out when he slid into second base during a recent game against Detroit and Tigers infielder Niko Goodrum tried grabbing it. Kiermaier jokingly put his foot on it and said “you can’t have it.”

When asked if he did anything wrong, Kiermaier replied: “No.”

“It’s easy to sit here after the fact knowing it’s their card, I understand,” Kiermaier said. “At that moment I just ran 360 feet-plus [trying to score on an infield hit and throwing error] and I’m sitting there trying to process the play, thinking my scouting report is on the ground, grabbing it, just walking back trying to go out there on defense and catch my breath thinking it’s done and over with.”

There were no incidents in Tuesday’s game stemming from the situation.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

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