Even though Luis Cruz played a pivotal role in the brawl between Mexico and Canada on Saturday in the World Baseball Classic, the Dodgers do not expect any punishment from Major League Baseball for their starting third baseman.
"I don't expect anything," said manager Don Mattingly on Sunday.
Cruz motioned to Mexican pitcher Arnold Leon to hit Rene Tosoni in the ninth inning of Saturday's contest, a 10-3 win by Canada that eliminated Mexico from the tournament. After both benches emptied, Cruz threw a punch in the melee.
World Baseball Classic Inc. issued a statement on Saturday night, saying there would be no further discipline for the players involved as it pertains to the WBC.
"After communicating with both the Mexican and Canadian baseball federations this evening, we are aware of the perspectives held by both sides in a competitive environment," the statement read. "Nevertheless, we relayed to both teams that such an altercation is inappropriate under any circumstances and has no place in baseball.
"Because at least one club -- and potentially both -- will not advance to the second round, WBCI has determined that disciplinary measures would not have a meaningful corrective impact. Thus, discipline will not be imposed beyond today's seven game ejections. It is our firm expectation that the members of Team Mexico, Team Canada and all the tournament's participating teams will learn from this incident and set a better example -- one that befits the sport they share -- in the future."
Amazingly, Cruz wasn't one of the players ejected for the brawl. Mattingly said Cruz sent him a text message on Saturday night.
"He didn't really explain it but said there were some things earlier that he didn't like," Mattingly said.
What Cruz didn't like were a pair of slides by Chris Robinson, in particular a late take-out slide on Mexican second baseman Ramiro Pena. Robinson led off the ninth inning with a bunt, normally a no-no in a 9-3 game, but with run differential as a tiebreaker things tend to change.
"You don't want anything like that to ever happen, but there should be some understanding of the rules. Baseball ettiquette says you don't play like that," Mattingly said. "It's just one of those things. I don't think you can ever say it's okay, but it's just not good baseball."
Both Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez are expected to report back to Dodgers camp on Monday. Venezuela has also been eliminated but has one more game on Sunday, and Ronald Belisario is expected back with the Dodgers later in the week.