Los Angeles Dodgers minor-league teammates Alex Guerrero and Miguel Olivo, a resident of Oakdale in the off-season, got into a fight Tuesday, May 20, during a game in Salt Lake City while playing for the Class AAA Albuquerque Isotopes. Olivo is accused of biting off a part of Guerrero’s ear during the melee.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported the fight happened in the dugout during the eighth inning of Albuquerque’s 7-4 loss to Salt Lake, briefly delaying the game, and both players were removed from the lineup soon afterward.
That evening, Guerrero’s agent, Scott Boras, said Olivo bit off a part of Guerrero’s ear in the scuffle.
The Los Angeles Times reported Guerrero and Olivo had to be separated. When players pulled off Olivo, he had a piece of Guerrero’s ear in his mouth.
The disagreement apparently began with Olivo getting upset that Guerrero failed to tag out a runner after a throw from Olivo. Guerrero and Olivo had confronted each other an inning earlier during an Isotopes pitching change. Standing near the mound, Olivo charged Guerrero before teammates stepped between them.
“We’ve been told to direct all inquiries to the LA Dodgers PR department,” said Isotopes Baseball Coordination Director, Lee Van Horn, when contacted by The Leader. “If you contact them, they’ll give you a blanket statement and I’m not sure if they are even answering questions.”
An obtained statement from the Los Angeles Dodgers stated, “The baseball operations department is aware of the altercation and is conducting an investigation into the matter. The organization does not condone this type of behavior and will have no further comment at this time.”
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told news outlets he doesn’t think either player sustained an injury that would keep him from playing.
On Wednesday, May 21, the Isotopes announced that they placed Olivo on the suspended list. No date was given when he would return to the club.
Salt Lake City Police were called in after the game to interview players who witnessed the fight and to gather evidence from the scene.
When contacted, the Salt Lake City Police Department reported “The police department is aware of an alleged assault at the ballpark Tuesday afternoon; however, no call was made to the department at the time. Later in the afternoon, the department was contacted by a local hospital about a man with an ear injury consistent with media reports. Upon responding to the hospital and interviewing the man, the alleged victim declined to file a complaint.”
Since Guerrero declined to file criminal charges, it’s unlikely Olivo will be prosecuted.
Guerrero underwent plastic surgery that evening to reattach part of the ear.
Guerrero is a Cuban infielder who signed a four-year contract with the Dodgers last winter for $28 million. He failed to make the team this spring but was tearing up minor league pitching batting .376 with 10 home runs for the Isotopes at the time of the injury.
Olivo, 35, started the season in AAA and was called up to the Dodgers on April 30 where he appeared in eight games, marking his 13th season in the majors. Olivo was optioned back to Albuquerque last week to make room for the activation of starting catcher A.J. Ellis.
Olivo was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics. He met his wife Gloria (Torres) who is from Oakdale, in 1999 while playing Class A minor league baseball in Modesto. The family, with six children, still resides in Oakdale.