WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch has called referee Angel Hernandez "unprofessional" and "arrogant" after being sent off in the first round of the match. Friday night against St. Louis.
Hinch was launched following a throw at the end of the first run.
"The fact that he wants to throw me into a spring training match is pretty ridiculous," Hinch said. "He is known for his overreaction a little bit."
Hinch's post-match comments irritated Hernandez.
"He said that, write it," said Hernandez before adding, "No comment, he was expelled for arguing bullets and strikes – that's all."
The argument could last beyond the spring training.
"I'm sure we'll come back this season," Hinch said.
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Hinch said about a week ago, Hernandez told him that he was mistaken in four balloon shots.
After a few of these calls failed in Houston early in the first run, Hinch said he had quietly made a suggestion to Hernandez as the Astros were preparing to hit.
"We have the technology to help you improve and these are strikes," Hinch told Hernandez. "He had an arrogant attitude about it and did not want to hear it."
When Hernandez called the first pitch to attack the Astros hitter, George Springer, Hinch said he thought Hernandez had probably passed this call out of spite.
From the canoe, Hinch claimed to have shouted at Hernandez that he had exhausted his batch of missed calls, which had caused his deportation.
Hinch came out of the canoe and began a long and sometimes animated conversation with Hernandez at the marble.
"When you fight balls and strikes you're thrown out, I understand," said Hinch. "As the situation intensified, he said some condescending things that are inappropriate, unprofessional, I'm going to stop there and we'll move on to the next game."
The first base umpire, CB Bucknor, tried to intervene, but Hinch did not leave the plate for more than two minutes. At one point, Hernandez clapped his hands as if to say, "Let's go, the discussion is over."
Hinch gave him a mocking mockery.
"I should thank CB, he was the voice of reason in all of this," said Hinch. "CB was very calm about that, he just wanted the game to continue."
As Hinch got more and more agitated, Springer and his coach Alex Cintron mastered him. Hinch seemed to hit Hernandez and Bucknor at least once each.
At one point in the fight, Cardinals starter Daniel Ponce de Leon chose to start a warm-up field, while Hinch stood in the right-handed batter's backstroke with his back to the plate.
Hinch stopped to talk for several seconds with the referee of the third base, Mike Estabrook, who was heading to the Astros pavilion.
Hernandez was the subject of close scrutiny during the American League playoffs last year, after being knocked down three times to first base by replay in a match against the Yankees Red Sox in New York.
Hernandez, 57, joined the staff of the Major League Baseball referees in 1993.
Hinch said he planned to make the 15-minute drive to Jupiter, where the other half of the Astros were playing a second separate-team game against the Cardinals.
"I did not think about dealing with it, but I thought about coming up and shocking, the whole side of it," Hinch said.
The Astros led by Hinch had won 5-0. The other Astros team beat St. Louis 11-2.