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Fielder apologizes, in lineup Tuesday

Fielder apologizes, in lineup Tuesday

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CINCINNATI -- Prince Fielder apologized for the outcome of his dugout dustup with Brewers teammate Manny Parra, but offered no apologies for the passion that sparked it.

Fielder was in the Brewers' starting lineup on Tuesday, a day after his skirmish with Parra during a loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park was caught by television cameras. Fielder, who twice shoved Parra before being restrained by other players, refused to talk to reporters on Monday night, but was feeling more talkative on Tuesday afternoon.

"We had a little disagreement, obviously," Fielder said. "I'm not going to go into the depths of what it was over, but it was something that happened. I've been playing with Manny since I was in Rookie ball, so it's not like we hate each other. I mean, I don't.

"I apologize for the way it went down," Fielder continued. "I don't apologize for the passion and the intensity after the game, but I definitely could have handled it a little better. At that moment, that's how it went down. I can't take it back."

As of the start of batting practice, Fielder and Parra had not spoken about the incident.

"We're not in middle school, [so] we should be able to get over it," Fielder said. "Unfortunately, we are on TV so of course it looks bad. But that kind of stuff happens."

No one in uniform would confirm what sparked the skirmish, but one onlooker said it began when Parra, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning but surrendered six runs before the end of the sixth, began to leave the dugout when he was replaced by pinch-hitter Russell Branyan in the top of the seventh inning. It is not uncommon for pitchers to return to the clubhouse while the game continues, but Fielder apparently took issue.

He had words with Parra near the bat rack, then went after Parra after the left-hander swiped his jacket and cap on the bench and appeared to strike Fielder on his follow-through. Fielder first shoved Parra on the right shoulder, then delivered another blow near Parra's neck or face.

Manager Ned Yost said the matter had been dealt with internally. Yost closed the clubhouse after the game for a brief team meeting and said, "Everyone has spoken up about the deal." Later, Yost spoke via telephone with general manager Doug Melvin.

The team did levy some form of punishment, but Yost would not provide any details. Neither would assistant GM Gord Ash, who rejoined the team on Tuesday in Cincinnati -- as previously scheduled -- after a visit to Double-A Huntsville.

Fielder said he never doubted that he would be back in the lineup. Yost was asked what it would take for a player to get benched.

"Being late, disrespecting the game in terms of hot-dogging or not hustling, those types of things," Yost said. "It depends on the action. ... You have to understand that you guys [reporters] don't see a lot of stuff that goes on. What happened yesterday is not a major ordeal. Yeah, there is shock factor to it, but people don't understand that there is a lot that happens over the course of an eight-month season when you've got guys that live together and play together and trust each other."

Would the punishment have been more severe had Parra gotten hurt?

"He didn't, so we're not getting into that," Yost said.

Fielder has admitted before that he has to work to control his temper. Most recently, he was ejected during a blowout loss to the Cubs last week and the game was delayed for several minutes while umpire Doug Eddings waited for Fielder to leave the dugout.

"After the fact, you always say how you could have done something," Fielder said. "If I was that good, I would be president or something. Like I said, I made mistakes but I don't apologize for my passion for the game at all. I'd never do that. Every now and then I kind of get a little too excited."

Yost did not necessarily have a problem with that.

"Those aren't anger issues, those are competitive issues," Yost said. "People say, 'How can you do that?' But when I first got here, what our fans wanted was a competitive team, more than anything else. Now, when they've got guys that compete, they get upset when things like [Tuesday's incident] happen. ... I just don't want cookie-cutter players. I want guys that compete, guys that play with fire and passion."

Fielder conceded that his frustration stems from the Brewers' recent funk. After a 7-0 road trip to start the second half, they had lost eight of 11 games entering play Tuesday night. Brewers hitters were a woeful 10-for-104 (.096) with runners in scoring position over their last 13 games.

"We're a good team and we're not playing well," Fielder said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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