Immediate ejections for hit batters, retaliation
CLEVELAND -- Before the first brushback, beaning or hint of bad blood, Major League Baseball put the Twins and Indians on notice: No fighting. Or else.
Because of the testiness that has defined the Minnesota-Cleveland rivalry in recent years, baseball notified both managers that there will be a zero-tolerance policy during their four-game series this week.
Any pitcher who intentionally hits a batter or any retaliation by a hitter will result in immediate ejections.
When the teams met earlier this month, Indians pitcher Jason Davis -- now in the minors -- hit Twins outfielder Shannon Stewart with a pitch and the two players exchanged shoves and unpleasantries near home plate.
That dust-up was the latest in a series of run-ins between the teams the past few seasons. This year, Indians ace C.C. Sabathia ratcheted up the bitter vibes when he said he "hated" the Twins.
Along with a letter notifying him of a fine for being thrown out of a May 5 game against Cleveland, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire received a letter from baseball, which outlined its stance on any more Twins-Indians trouble.
Gardenhire isn't expecting any problems between the clubs.
"It's a good rivalry and good baseball and if we keep it to only that, then all is good," he said. "All the other junk is just nonsense that the league wants out of the game. We don't bring it in, not intentionally.
"A couple of individuals brought it in, not entire teams. That makes it seem worse than it is. Let's just go play baseball and forget all that other junk," he said.
Former major-league umpire Richie Garcia, who now works as an umpiring supervisor, is attending the series. Garcia feels the extra attention being paid to the rivalry is warranted.
"The whole idea is we don't want any bench-clearing brawls -- play the game," he said. "We don't want guys jumping off the bench and getting in fights. That's not good for baseball."
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge spoke with Garcia during batting practice Monday and assured him the Indians will be on their best behavior.
"He wants everything to be OK," Wedge said. "He doesn't want any problems. I told him, 'I hope so, too.'"
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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