The exchange was short and sweet and about as far away from prying eyes as possible.
Melky Cabrera, the Toronto Blue Jays leftfielder, and Bruce Bochy, the San Francisco Giants manager, met in a dingy passageway between the two clubhouses at Rogers Centre Tuesday afternoon, a couple of hours before game time.
A few words were spoken, there was a cursory hug, and Cabrera walked away with a treasure that, under normal circumstances, he would have been more proud of.
It was a World Series ring that Cabrera received, for being part of last year’s Giants’ outfit that won the Fall Classic in a four-game sweep over the Detroit Tigers.
But Cabrera wanted no part of any pomp or circumstance in receiving his bauble and he avoided reporters before the game. Failing a drug test can have that affect on you.
“He requested a private deal,” Bochy said. “That was up to him.”
The Giants (23-16) were in town to begin the first of a mini two-game interleague set against the Jays (16-24), and hardly resembled a championship squad, getting routed 10-6 by the Jays, who have now won three in a row.
The Jays, who are beginning to find their bats of late, jumped all over Giants starter Barry Zito for six runs in the bat-around first inning.
It wasn’t all Zito’s fault as only three of the runs were earned after a couple of San Francisco errors helped set the tone.
Pablo Sandoval, the Giants’ husky third baseman, made a brutal throw off a routine ground ball off the bat of Cabrera, who was leading off, that left the Toronto batter standing safely at second base.
Later in the inning, centrefielder Angel Pagan mishandled a healthy drive off the bat of Mark DeRosa that allowed Toronto’s second and third runs to cross the plate.
Cabrera, who was Toronto’s designated hitter on this night, got up twice in the inning, and singled home the Jays’ final run of the marathon inning.
The Jays pounded out 18 hits to bolster a solid outing from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (3-5), who allowed two runs off two Giants hits while striking out a season-best 10 batters.
Last season Cabrera was a member of the Giants, and was enjoying a fabulous year.
He was hitting .346 and was the Most Valuable Player at the all-star game before he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone that resulted in a 50-game suspension.
When he was eligible to return, Cabrera was further embarrassed when the Giants did not add him to their postseason roster.
Cabrera became a free agent at the season’s end and wound up signing a two-year, $16-million deal to join the Blue Jays.
After a slow start, Cabrera’s bat has start to come around, now having hit safely in nine of his last 11 games. He had four hits against the Giants in five trips to the plate, including a double, while driving in two of Toronto’s runs.
Cabrera is now hitting a team-high .278. The only Blue Jay to play in all 40 games this season, Cabrera’s streak of good fortune could be coming to an end.
He has been playing all season with a sore left hamstring and the Blue Jays will send him off on Wednesday to have an MRI to determine just how severe the problem is.
The remedy could be just a day or two off, or a stint on the disabled list.
The news also wasn’t good for Sergio Santos, the supposed Blue Jays closer who remains on the disabled list recovering from soreness to his right triceps.
Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos revealed on Tuesday that Santos will now undergo what he referred to as minor surgery later in the week to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow.
The setback will sideline Santos for about another six weeks.
The Blue Jays also said that starter Brandon Morrow, who was supposed to take the mound on Wednesday, is being pushed back again until Saturday when he is now scheduled to start against the New York Yankees.
While Morrow insists he is ready to go the Blue Jays say they are giving him additional time to make sure he has recovered from neck soreness that caused him to miss his last start on Sunday in Boston.