A Major League Baseball pitching coach fired this week for allegedly making insensitive comments, and who has insisted his words were taken out of context, has ties to the Sacramento area.
The Detroit Tigers fired Chris Bosio on Wednesday for his use of the word "monkey," though he denies using it in a racially derogatory context. Bosio told USA Today he was referencing Tigers pitcher Daniel Stumpf, who is white. Bosio said he uses the nickname "Spider Monkey" for Stumpf, in reference to the faces Stumpf makes while working out.
Stumpf on Thursday told the Detroit Free Press he was unaware of the nickname: "Spider Monkey is not a nickname I have been called or I'm familiar with."
Bosio's comment was heard by a black clubhouse attendant, who reported him. Bosio also told USA Today he was "crushed" by the firing, and indicated that he may seek legal action.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
The Tigers' official statement says that Bosio's actions violated his contract, and that his "insensitive comments" were a violation of team policy.
The Free Press reports that Stumpf is currently on Triple-A rehab assignment in Toledo, away from the MLB club. The Free Press could not confirm whether the nickname "Spider Monkey" has been used in the Tigers clubhouse.
Under general manager Al Avila, the Tigers have a zero tolerance policy, the Free Press reports.
Bosio's baseball career is rooted in Sacramento. The 55-year-old was a star pitcher at Cordova High School and Sacramento City College.
"He loves this game," former Cordova coach Guy Anderson said of Bosio in a 2015 interview with The Bee.
Previously serving as the pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs from 2012-17, Bosio was lauded at the time by Cubs President Theo Epstein and starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. Arrieta, then a top-tier pitcher playing for the Cubs, credited Bosio's coaching for his dominant Cy Young Award-winning season in 2015.
"He has a powerful personality and determined approach," Epstein told the Chicago Sun-Times a few years ago.
His MLB highlights include a no-hitter in the 1993 season and 94 career wins.
The Bee has quoted Bosio as once having said, "If you aren’t tough enough, this game will eat you alive."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.