Lovullo regrets comments that triggered brawl

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo says he regrets his choice of words that set off St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and triggered a benches-clearing incident.

Lovullo came out of the dugout to argue with plate umpire Tim Timmons in St. Louis on Sunday, blaming the umpire for a called third strike he claimed was influenced by the All-Star catcher’s pitch framing.

Lovullo used a profanity that set off Molina, and the manager was ejected.

“I said what I said,” Lovullo explained Monday. “I made a mistake with some of the wording that I chose. I think the one message that I want to say is that I respect Yady, I think he’s one of the best catchers in baseball. Has been for a long time.”

Lovullo was arguing a called third strike on A.J. Pollock leading off the second innings. He had not liked a called third strike against David Peralta starting the game.

The Arizona manager said he praised Molina while using a profanity and said “but he can’t turn balls into strikes.”

Molina’s version was “he said a bad word to me and I reacted that way. He called me (it) twice. You can’t allow that.”

“I know he was frustrated with what I said, and I can’t blame him,” Lovullo said. “I was giving him more of a compliment in saying that he’s very good and didn’t necessarily follow through, to execute the right way of my words to tell that that’s what I was thinking.”

Lovullo had not tried to reach out to Molina.

“I just want everything to settle down and go away,” the manager said. “I know that it’s a big story. It happened, and I can see why it’s a big story, I’m not trying to downplay it, I just want the dust to settle a little bit and think through it through a really clearer lens.”

Lovullo said he expects to be fined for the ejection.

“’ll deal with the consequences,” he said.

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