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Archie Bradley’s bullpen gesture meant for D-backs teammates, not Astros

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Diamondbacks-Astros series that concludes Thursday has included its round of expletives, on the basepaths and off of them.

Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. criticized Arizona’s mid-game opening of the roof after the D-backs’ 14-7 win on Wednesday. And during that game, Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley was caught on camera making a one-fingered gesture from the bullpen following a home run by teammate Nick Ahmed in the fifth inning.

It wasn’t meant for the opponent, Bradley said Thursday.

“I wish I could sit here and (expletive)-talk the Astros and, like, make up a story about how I hate them and that was what that was about,” Bradley said over a Zoom call. “Kind of our thing is when a guy hits a double or hits a homer … we encourage them to point to us and give us a dap or some sort of celebration. We had a bunch of players not acknowledging us in last night’s game.”

Bradley called the razzing of teammates a “bonehead move” and said he would take any criticism for it. He reiterated it wasn’t directed at Houston.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, who learned Thursday that the image of Bradley was widely shared on social media, said he would speak with the pitcher about the image.

“I’m not a big TMZ guy, but it seems like it went viral,” Lovullo said. “It’s not anything that we condone here. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Archie about it but I will.

“That’s not anyway to express your emotions.”

Lovullo also said the image bothered him because some members of the D-backs bullpen crew were not properly wearing their face masks. He added that topic would be addressed with the pitching staff as well.

As for McCullers, the roof opening after the third inning changed the atmosphere inside Chase Field. Related or not, that moment marked a change in the game as Arizona turned a 4-0 deficit into a 9-4 lead by the end of the fourth frame.

“Opening the roof in the fourth is (expletive),” McCullers said after the game Wednesday night, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Lovullo said he does not make the decisions of whether the roof will open and did not know whether it would be open or closed for the series finale on Thursday. The D-backs manager said he learned that the roof would open 15 or 20 minutes before the game.

Astros skipper Dusty Baker said he also learned of the decision pregame.

“I understand (McCullers’) frustration and we were both playing in the same ballpark,” Lovullo said Thursday of the pitcher’s comment. “We followed the normal protocol that we do when we are going to open up the roof. We let the other team know.”


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