WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch was ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez one pitch into the bottom of the first inning of Friday night’s split squad game against St. Louis.
Hernandez called Daniel Ponce de Leon’s first pitch to Astros leadoff man George Springer a strike. Moments later, Hernandez turned to the Houston dugout and appeared to say something while gesturing.
Hinch emerged from the bench and began a lengthy and at times heated conversation with Hernandez at home plate.
First base umpire CB Bucknor attempted to intervene, but Hinch wouldn’t leave the plate area. At one point, Hernandez clapped his hands as if to say let’s go, argument over.
Hinch mockingly clapped back at him.
As Hinch grew more agitated, he was restrained by both Springer and coach Alex Cintron. Hinch appeared to bump both Hernandez and Bucknor at least once each.
The argument took long enough that Ponce de Leon elected to throw a warmup pitch, doing so while Hinch stood in the right-handed batter’s box, his back to the plate.
Hinch stopped to talk for several seconds with third base umpire Mike Estabrook on his way down the left field line to the Astros’ clubhouse.