PHOENIX -- Luis Cruz had a three-word answer at the ready to explain the behavior that appeared to trigger the brawl between Mexico and Canada in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday.
“I lost it,” Cruz said.
Cruz repeated those words eight times during a brief interview Monday as he and Adrian Gonzalez rejoined the Dodgers following Mexico’s elimination from the WBC.
Cruz dodged the question of whether he wished to apologize to the Canadians.
“I just can say I lost it and I feel bad,” Cruz said, “and I’m just ready to move on and be ready for the season.”
So is he apologizing or not?
“I’m not saying that,” he said. “I’m just saying I lost it and I am ready to move on and I’ve got to be ready for the season.”
Cruz appeared to instigate the fight by signaling for Mexico pitcher Arnold Leon to throw at Canada’s Rene Tosoni. Leon threw two pitches near Tosoni, then a third pitch that hit Tosoni. Cruz threw at least two punches in the ensuing fight.
“I lost it,” Cruz said. “I was feeling the game. I lost it. I feel bad about it. I think I have to move on and get ready for the season.”
Cruz declined to say whether he wished he could have a do-over in that situation.
“I just can say that I lost it,” he said. “I’ve come in here to work and get ready for the season.”
He also declined to discuss whether he understood the WBC rules that use run differential as a tiebreaker -- explaining why Canada would want to add runs even when comfortably ahead -- or which plays so irked him.
“Like I say, and I am going to keep saying, I lost it,” Cruz said. “I am going to try to move on and come here and work every day and be ready for April 1.”
Gonzalez said some of the Mexican players were displeased by Canada catcher Chris Robinson bunting for a single with a six-run lead in the ninth inning, and with hard slides in previous innings.
“I heard about the hard slides earlier in the game,” Gonzalez said. “The bunt obviously got a couple guys pretty mad. We understand the tiebreaker rules in the tournament, but things led to it.”
Canada coach Larry Walker pulled Gonzalez aside during the fight, telling him he was too important to his major league team to risk injury. As a result, Gonzalez said, he could not see what was happening on the field.
“He’s a big guy,” Gonzalez said of Walker. “He blocked me. I got to see most of the fight on video afterwards.”