Apologetic Fielder says 'disagreement' with Parra got out of hand

CINCINNATI -- Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder apologized Tuesday for pushing a teammate in the dugout during a loss, saying he should have done a better job of handling frustration due in part to the Brewers' losing streak.

Fielder exchanged words and twice shoved Manny Parra after the pitcher was removed for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of a 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night. The Brewers' seventh loss in nine games left them with only a half-game lead in the NL wild-card standings.

The 24-year-old Fielder was pulled away from Parra by several teammates, preventing the situation from escalating. He declined to talk about it after the game.

On Tuesday, he said there is no animosity toward Parra.

"It's not like we hate each other," Fielder said. "I don't. It's just a little disagreement. I apologize for the way it went down, but I don't apologize for the passion and intensity. I definitely could have handled it a little better, but just at that moment, that's how it went down. I can't take it back. The way I handled it probably could have been dealt with better."

Manager Ned Yost reiterated Tuesday that he didn't consider the shoving match to be an issue. Fielder was in the starting lineup for Tuesday night's game, blasting a two-run homer in Milwaukee's 8-1 defeat of the Reds.

"I just don't want cookie-cutter players," Yost said. "I want guys that compete. I want guys that play with fire and passion. And sometimes when you do, things like that happen.

"I'd much rather deal with this than a bunch of guys sitting on the bench getting their butts kicked every day and not caring about it, to be honest with you."

Dugout flare-ups are becoming an annual event for Milwaukee.

On Aug. 2 last season, Yost got into a heated dispute with catcher Johnny Estrada in the dugout tunnel during a loss to the Mets, and players intervened. That came during a run of 10 losses in 14 games, a fade that dropped them out of first place.

This year, they've gone from being tied with the Cubs in first place in the NL Central on July 26 to fighting just to hold onto their wild-card lead. They got swept by the Cubs in a four-game showdown last week, and saw their lead for the wild card reduced to a half-game over idle St. Louis with their loss on Monday night.

Fielder acknowledged that the frustration of losing played into his outburst.

"We're a good team and we haven't been playing well," he said. "Things happen. Like I said, we're not in middle school; we should be able to get over it."

Last year, the Brewers held an 8½-game lead on June 23, then went into a swoon that dropped them out of first place on Aug. 1. They finished in second place, two games behind the Cubs.

Their recent problems can be traced to their lack of clutch hitting. Since the All-Star break, the Brewers were batting .157 with runners in scoring position entering Tuesday. They were only 10-for-104 over the last 13 games with runners on second or third.

Yost said the Brewers need to be patient and wait for the slump to end.

"It's like a cold -- it just runs its course," he said.

Yost hopes that the incident in the dugout helps to galvanize his team instead of pulling it apart.

"These things could be very, very beneficial for a team," Yost said. "Yes, they could be detrimental, or they could be very, very beneficial. They sure can, and not only for the team but for individual players. I guess we'll find out."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.