Manny Machado claims it was a slip.
Intentional or not, it made the Oakland Athletics flip.
In the eighth inning of Sunday's Baltimore Orioles' home game against the A's, Machado flung his bat towards third baseman Josh Donaldson during a swinging strike on a 1-1 count.
The bat nearly hit Donaldson, but flew past him and landed at the feet of umpire Angel Hernandez who was standing down the left field line.
The bat fling brought a charge of Oakland players out of the dugout, igniting a shouting match with Machado and Orioles who came to aid their young star. Words were exchanged with a few pushes and shoves, but no punches were thrown.
He let go of his bat after dodging a pair of inside pitches from A's pitcher Fernando Abad.
"It slipped out," Machado told the Baltimore Sun. “Obviously, it's going to get heated. But you can't do nothing about it. The only thing you can control is come back out there and play baseball.”
Machado will likely get that chance because he may avoid any suspension from this incident. He claims innocence, but the act could be viewed as intentional.
It wasn't isolated, either.
Bad blood had been brewing since Friday's contest between these two teams. Coincidentally, it was Machado who was at the forefront of another near-brawl.
In the fifth inning, Machado attempted to avoid a tag during a rundown between second and third base. He couldn't avoid a tag from Donaldson and fell backwards onto the infield grass. It looked to be a trip on his own accord. But Machado took exception to the hard tag.
He got up, threw his helmet in Donaldson's direction and got up in the major league veteran's face. Later in the game, Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen beaned Donaldson with a pitch.
Even on Sunday, tempers were flaring, yet tempered. Again, because of Machado.
During his swing in a first inning strikeout, Machado tapped Oakland catcher Derek Norris with his bat. Norris didn't seem all that shaken by it and Machado walked off the field.
In his next at-bat, Machado tapped Norris on his back swing again.
This shook Norris up more by knocking the mask off his face and causing him to exit the game and undergo concussion tests. Results came back negative, but Machado didn't seem to care in the first place.
"Most guys ask if you're alright, but if anything I might have caught him smiling on time which is bizarre," Norris said. "What he's doing, I think it's a disgrace to baseball."
Maybe Machado was just frustrated by Sunday's 11-1 loss. He was 0 for 3 in the game before the ejection. It's his second hit-less game in a row. Saturday's 6-3 win over Oakland snapped a six-game hitting streak for the 21-year old.
The Orioles are now 31-30, second place in the American League East Division, and will next face rival Boston Red Sox for a three-game series.
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