By JOSH VITALE, SunCoast Sports
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Marauders 6, Stone Crabs 5
BRADENTON—In the second inning of Sunday’s game against the Bradenton Marauders, Andrew Toles backed up to field a pop-up, caught the ball underhanded and launched his throw back into the infield over both cutoff men’s head into the infield dirt.
Immediately after his throw landed, Stone Crabs manager Jared Sandberg called his center fielder back to the dugout and sent Jonathan Quinonez out to replace him.
It’s the second time this season Toles has been removed from a game. The first time came on April 19, when he was taken out for nut running hard to first.
After the game, Toles gave me a statement with no follow-up questions. Here are what he and his manager had to say about the incident:
“It was a pop-up to the outfield. Sort of routine. I went back, routinely caught it and just overthrew it to the infield. It just didn’t look good. You got to keep that in mind, you know? That this is a professional baseball team or league, per se. It is still a professional league. You have to keep your composure at all times and make sure you don’t have any hiccups such as that. You could make the argument that it affected the whole team in the loss, because your everyday center fielder isn’t out there ready to catch the balls that normally are being caught. The defense is a little off, and you have guys coming off the bench and making adjustments. You just have to, I guess—it’s a learning experience. I’m not using that as an excuse, but at the same time, you do have to keep in mind that it is a professional baseball league or whatever. It’s professional baseball. No matter what goes on or whatever the issue is, or whatever the case may be, you still have to try to be professional. Even though that sometimes isn’t the case, you still have to try to keep it together and be professional. It’s not good. You have to keep it in order and try to do what you got to do. That’s all I got.”
“It started in the first inning when he didn’t run hard to first base. And with the depth on the team, knowing that Kes Carter was hit on the finger and is still out — I wasn’t going to put Kes Carter in the game in that situation — so it became Quinonez or (catchers Jake) DePew or (Maxx) Tissenbaum. So you just take your pick. Quinonez has played the outfield before. If you don’t play the game the right way, you don’t play. The way he caught the fly ball and the way he acted, that’s the reason why he came out of the game.
“If you don’t play hard, you don’t play. It would have been really easy for everyone to not run hard to first base and come out of the game, and not want to play a day game today with the off day. Any one of them could have done it. I watched Andrew play last year, and he came out of the game last year, too. So this isn’t the first time.
“I have not spoken to him yet. He knows why he came out of the game.”
Follow Josh on Twitter @JoshVitale