Aybar has role in brawl
It has been an eventful week for Angels infielder Erick Aybar.
First, he touched off a bench-clearing brawl Saturday by charging the mound with a bat. Then, playing against the same Dominican winter league opponent three days later, he hit for the cycle and scored the winning run in the 18th inning of a game that ended at 2:51 a.m.
The first incident could land Aybar in hot water. The league and an attorney contacted by some fans are investigating whether the actions of Aybar and Licey teammates Ronnie Belliard and Timo Perez injured spectators during a melee that started when Aybar was hit by a pitch in the top of the eighth inning of Licey’s game with Gigantes in San Francisco de Macoris.
Aybar answered by charging pitcher Julio de Paula with his bat, and the fans responded by pelting players with expletives as well as cups, bottles and a huge plastic trash can. Video of the incident is of poor quality, but it shows several players who cannot be readily identified repeatedly throwing things into the stands.
Umpires ended the game at that point, awarding Licey the victory.
Team spokesman Tim Mead said Angels General Manager Tony Reagins talked to Licey officials and was assured Aybar had nothing to do with the incident involving the fans.
Tuesday’s rematch went off without controversy in Santo Domingo, and Aybar went five for nine, drove in four runs and scored three -- including the game-winner on a sacrifice fly after completing his cycle with a triple leading off the 18th. That raised Aybar’s winter average to .358 heading into Wednesday’s games. He homered in his first at-bat Wednesday.