Alfonseca out seven games; Alou fined

Updated: September 7, 2003, 1:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Got a beef with an umpire? Major League Baseball will have a gift for you:

A suspension or a fine. Or maybe both.

The league office made several disciplinary moves Friday, all related to altercations with umpires.

Chicago Cubs reliever Antonio Alfonseca was suspended for seven games, bullpen coach Juan Lopez was suspended for one game and outfielder Moises Alou was fined Friday for their run-in with umpire Justin Klemm earlier this week. Alfonseca appealed, and can continue to play until the appeal process is complete.

Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca served a one-game suspension Friday night when the Detroit Tigers played at Toronto. Tosca was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount for spraying spittle on umpire Tim Timmons during an argument in Boston last week.

Oakland outfielder Terrence Long was suspended for four games and Tampa Bay bench coach John McLaren was suspended for one game Friday for recent arguments with umpires.

Alfonseca was penalized for making contact with Klemm while Alou and Lopez were disciplined for arguing.

"The penalty is too severe given the alleged infraction. There is no precedent for it. I can't remember a suspension longer than five games for a push of umpire, let alone seven games," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.

"It is way too much and I don't understand how they came up with it," he said.

Alou was fined an undisclosed amount, as were Alfonseca and Lopez. The penalties were imposed by Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball.

"It is very disappointing," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said of Alfonseca's suspension. "It is a long time and it comes at a bad time of the season for us."

"I'm still surprised he even got kicked out. He wasn't even talking to the umpire. He was talking to our bullpen coach in Spanish," he said. "I don't even know if that umpire can understand Spanish. He'll appeal and we'll see what happens. There's not much we can do about it."

The dispute began at Wrigley Field on Tuesday after Klemm, the third-base umpire, called a bases-loaded drive by Alou foul in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Cubs wound up losing 2-0 for a split of the day-night doubleheader between NL Central contenders.

One replay showed chalk dust flying up on Alou's ball. Alou flied out to end the inning.

As the Cubs took the field for the top of the eighth, Alfonseca, who was not in the game at the time, charged out of the bullpen area down the left-field line and began yelling at Klemm.

Crew chief Mike Reilly said Alfonseca bumped Klemm during the exchange.

"His intent was to make physical contact with the umpire and he did," Reilly said. "He knocked him as far as from 5-to-10-to-12 feet backwards. With a total head, chest butt."

"Let me put it this way," he said. "That is one of the severest attack of an umpire I've seen since I've been in the big leagues, which is 27 years."

Alou, as he was going to his position in left field, also began screaming at Klemm and had to be restrained by teammate Kenny Lofton. Lopez joined the argument from the bullpen.

Alfonseca and Alou were ejected. Fans littered the field with beer cups during the exchange and the grounds crew had to come onto the field and clean up the litter surrounding the warning track.

McLaren's penalty was to take effect Friday night when the Devil Rays played Oakland. Long's suspension was set to start Saturday.

Long and McLaren also were fined undisclosed amounts by Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball.

Long's run-in with plate umpire Marvin Hudson took place Tuesday night during the Athletics' 2-0 win in 12 innings at Baltimore.

Long was ejected by Hudson after striking out for a third time in the eighth inning. After being tossed, Long gave Hudson a chest bump despite being restrained by A's first base coach Brad Fischer.

"We don't want to be out there arguing in a pennant race here," A's manager Ken Macha said after the game, "but when you're as competitive as Terrence is, your juices are flowing and you get into a situation you don't want to be in."

McLaren was penalized for arguing from dugout and yelling at umpire Joe Brinkman during the Devil Rays' game at Oakland last Sunday.

The Blue Jays' Tosca said he was "not pleased with my actions. I'll have to find another avenue to present my case because the umpires are representatives of the league."

First base John Gibbons was to manage the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.