The Marlins have not lost since Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla jawed Wednesday, taking four in a row to remain an outside presence in the division and wild-card races. None of it surprises Brendan Donnelly, a veteran reliever for the Marlins who has seen it happen before.
Donnelly wasn't around othe day Ramirez and Uggla got into it inside the Marlins clubhouse. The injured pitcher was up in Jupiter on rehab assignment. But Donnelly was filled in on all the details when he rejoined the club, and it made him think back to a few years ago when he was involved in a similar internal flare-up on the Anaheim Angels.
Donnelly recounted how in May of the 2006 season the Angels' Adam Kennedy became openly critical of a baserunning decision by teammate Chone Figgins. That set off a verbal exchange in the Angels dugout. But the bad feelings lingered even after Kennedy apologized to Figgins during a closed-door clubhouse meeting following the game. Donnelly said Figgins refused to acknowledge Kennedy's apology.
That angered Donnelly, who inserted himself into the fray.
"I felt the need to let Figgins know that, hey, it's good to acknowledge something like that," Donnelly said. "Things got a little heated. He felt like he didn't do anything wrong. I said 'That's not the point. In order to move on and make this a positive, you need to acknowledge it.'"
Tempers cooled eventually. At the same time, the Angels awakened on the field. They were 17-24 at the time of the verbal spar. They played close to .600 baseball the rest of the season and nearly won their division. Donnelly said the Kennedy-Figgins dust-up brought the Angels closer together as a team. He said the Uggla-Ramirez incident could have the same, unifying effect.
"Depending on the character of the team, it could easily drive a wedge into the team," Donnelly said of internal confrontations in general. "But it was a positive for (the Angels), and I think it could be a positive for us."