3/13/2013 7:30 P.M. ET
Navarro reflects on Mexico-Canada Classic altercation
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Minor League first baseman Efren Navarro is back in Angels camp now, but just four days ago, he was in the middle of one of the ugliest baseball incidents in recent memory, when tempers flared, punches were thrown and even objects were tossed in a heated scrum between Team Mexico and Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic.
Canada's Chris Robinson bunted to lead off the ninth inning with his team already leading by six runs. Mexico's Luis Cruz appeared to point to the next batter, then Arnold Leon hit Rene Tosoni in the back and a wild fracas ensued at Chase Field on Saturday, with Mexican pitcher Alfredo Aceves basically at the center of it and a water bottle hitting Canadian pitching coach Denis Boucher in the face.
Navarro, who tried his best to act as a peacemaker and separate players, said Mexico knew the rules and understood that the tiebreaker of run differential put scoring at a premium in every frame, no matter the situation.
"But it was just the heat of the moment," Navarro said. "The intensity level was so high. It happened so quick, that whole incident."
Over the last few days, Navarro has received numerous texts messages and phone calls from friends and family members wondering if he was hurt -- he wasn't. He's seen the video from the altercation on YouTube countless times.
His reaction: "Geez, what did we get into?"
Given the rules of the tournament, Navarro didn't have a problem with the bunt.
But that's hindsight.
"In the moment, you're representing Mexico, and we're in it to win it, and just the intensity level every inning, I can't explain it," Navarro said. "It was a good vibe, and plus the fans, a lot of fans rooting for us. Even when we played USA, that was by far one of the best moments of my baseball career, just being there, the chants. USA! then a few minutes later, Mexico!
"Overall, the WBC was a great time, it was a great experience. Unfortunately that happened. There's not much you can say, just learn from it and move on."
Pujols runs for himself for first time this spring
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols' recovery from offseason knee surgery cleared another, albeit small, hurdle on Wednesday: He ran for himself.
For his previous three Cactus League starts, the Angels made an agreement with the opposing manager to let them deploy a courtesy runner if Pujols reached base, though it only came into play on Sunday.
In the first inning Wednesday against the Padres at Peoria Sports Complex, Pujols reached on a fielder's choice, but was tagged out on a grounder to first baseman Kyle Blanks on the very next play. The 33-year-old first baseman flied out to deep right-center field in his second plate appearance, then hit a stand-up RBI double down the left-field line his third time up before being replaced by a pinch-runner because his day was over.
Pujols, who ran the bases for the first time on Saturday, isn't close to running at full speed yet, but is progressing nonetheless.
"He feels better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He feels good on the bases, at least being able to, with a governor on, run a little bit."
Pujols, 4-for-11 with two homers, may do the same again on Thursday against the White Sox, but Scioscia said Pujols is still another week to 10 days from debuting at first base.
"We have time," Scioscia added.
Taylor has small labrum tear, won't need surgery
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Lefty reliever Andrew Taylor, who made three appearances as a September callup with the Angels last year, has a small tear in his labrum, a MRI on Monday revealed.
The good news for the Angels is it won't require surgery; the bad news is he'll be shut down and limited to rehab work for an indefinite amount of time.
"It's different with everybody, so it could be a week, two weeks, two months; it could be anytime," Taylor said. "It's just when my arm is not painful at all."
Taylor, 26 and in Major League camp, was taken by the Angels in the 34th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and pitched primarily in Double-A and Triple-A last season, compiling a 4.27 ERA in 59 innings. He's still experiencing pain when throwing a baseball.
"I want to be on the field," Taylor said, "so I have to make sure everything's good. I don't want to rush it back."
• In anticipation of using National League rules to open up the regular season, Angels pitchers have been bunting for a week and began hitting on Wednesday. Mike Scioscia, who normally doesn't let his pitchers swing the bat in Spring Training, has starters Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas swinging the bat. Tommy Hanson, who currently lines up as the fifth starter, is not hitting yet.
• Veteran lefty reliever Mitch Stetter, who compiled 132 appearances with the Brewers from 2007-11 and was obtained on a Minor League deal, hasn't pitched yet because of a bulging disk in his back, but hopes to make his spring debut on Sunday. Stetter, 32, was slated to throw an aggressive bullpen session on Wednesday.
• Utility infielder Bill Hall, out since Feb. 27 due to tightness in his right quad, had his right calf tighten up on him while fielding ground balls on Monday morning. Hall had been progressing from his quad and was getting close to returning to games, but this injury should push him back at least a couple of days.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.