Chicago — Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.
Andrew Romine on Thursday was thrust into the unenviable position of trying to intervene during a fight at home plate between his brother and his teammate, who just happens to be the face of the franchise that pays his salary.
Tigers' Miguel Cabrera shoved and punched at Yankees catcher Austin Romine in the sixth inning Thursday, the first of three benches-clearing brawls. Andrew Romine was one of the first players to reach the fight from the dugout.
“They are both grown men and they make their decisions,” Andrew said before Friday's series opener against the White Sox. “My first concern was really just to break it up, just like most guys did. Most guys were going in thinking we just didn’t want anybody to get hurt. Really, I was just trying to get in there and stop the fight as soon as possible.”
Romine ended up on his back in the middle of everything. Both his brother and Cabrera were separated by other parties.
“It’s tough,” Andrew said. “During the fight, things got out of hand real quick. It almost became every man for himself. You’ve got people stepping on people and throwing punches in the back of people’s heads. You are really just looking to cover up.
“I ended up on the bottom of it. It was a little nerve-wracking knowing anybody could do anything to you and you couldn’t do anything about it.”
Eventually, he was able to get up and go over to where his brother was.
“He looked agitated still,” Andrew said. “Miggy and him were still jawing at each other. I wanted to calm him down and it didn’t look like anybody was really trying to hold him back that much. I figured if anybody could, it would be me.”
That’s if Austin could calm himself down enough to recognize that it was his brother standing there.
“I went over and tried to get eye contact with him,” Andrew said. “He was not having it at first. He was still trying to get around. I told him he needed to calm down. Once I got eye contact, I just asked, 'Are you OK?' And you need to calm down.”
The Romine brothers spoke more calmly after the game and both checked in with their parents, who, Andrew said, were just happy nobody got hurt.
“He’s a big boy and he picks his fights and chooses how he want to handle them,” Andrew said.
Asked if he and Austin fought much growing up, Andrew chuckled and said, “A lot. And many of them were worse than that one.”
Television cameras caught a brief dugout spat between Victor Martinez and Justin Verlander Thursday. Verlander and Nick Castellanos were telling Martinez that Yankees' Gary Sanchez had sucker punched both Castellanos and Cabrera during the fight.
They seemed to be questioning why Martinez had gone out to the mound and talked calmly and friendly to Sanchez.
Verlander was pitching Friday and was off limits to the media before the game. Martinez politely refused to comment.
“Vic and Verlander were playing cards together on the plane last night, so I don’t think it’s anything,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We will see how it goes. There was a lot of emotion and sometimes it can spill over into your own dugout.”
Around the horn
James McCann was back in the lineup Friday, showing no residual effects from taking a 98-mph pitch off the helmet from Yankees reliever Dellin Betances Thursday.
Ausmus said McCann had been tested for a possible concussion and was cleared during the game Thursday.
…Third baseman Nick Castellanos was a late scratch Friday with left wrist soreness. He had his wrist wrapped during batting practice, which he took part in. He also took balls in right field during BP.
Dixon Machado started in his place.
…Justin Upton turned 30 years old on Friday. He entered the game as one of seven players in MLB history to produce at least 850 runs, 225 home runs and 125 stolen bases before the age of 30. He joins Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson and Alex Rodriguez.
...After the game Friday, the Tigers sent outfielder JaCoby Jones back to Triple-A Toledo. That moves clears the way for right-hander Buck Farmer, who will get the start Saturday against the White Sox.
TIGERS AT WHITE SOX
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago
RHP Buck Farmer (2-1, 6.62), Tigers: This will be his fifth start for the Tigers, and to say the least, he’s had some performance swings. He pitched 13 shutout innings in his first two starts, with 16 strikeouts. In his next two starts, he was pounded for 13 runs in 4.2 innings, yielding five home runs. He’s continued to pitch well at Triple-A.
LHP Carlos Rodon (2-4, 3.88), White Sox: He’s on a stretch of five straight quality starts, allowing two runs or less in each. On the season, opponents are hitting .244 against him and he has 68 strikeouts in 60.1 innings.