Minor league prospects brawl in Arizona Fall League

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A fight broke out in the ninth inning of an Arizona Fall League game between Peoria and Scottsdale on Saturday, a rare brawl in a league where top prospects from all minor league organizations mix to form teams.

Boston Red Sox farmhand Josh Winckowski, playing for Scottsdale, hit Canaan Smith-Njigba of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a pitch and the batter charged the mound. Punches were thrown, both players were ejected and Smith-Njigba left the field being held back while still screaming at Winckowski for throwing at his head.

Greg DiCenzo, a coach with Scottsdale who works in Cleveland’s organization, was disappointed in the fight and said he considered it unfortunate after 705 people in attendance were treated to a back-and-forth game on a perfect fall day in the desert.

“It’s not part of the game,” DiCenzo said. “I think it was probably heated between one or two guys who knew each other beforehand. It wasn’t a team issue. I think we have more friends in the other dugouts than anything. It’s two guys being knuckleheads, to be quite frank.”

Scottsdale won 11-7.

Peoria’s manager, Anthony Contreras of the Philadelphia Phillies system, didn’t want to discuss the brawl.

“No idea,” Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said after watching from the stands. “I was just as shocked as everybody.”

Tensions had been high a day earlier when the clubs played in Peoria.

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