Fielder suspended, fined for 'inappropriate and aggressive conduct'
MILWAUKEE -- Prince Fielder is appealing the three-game suspension that was handed down by the commissioner's office Wednesday, allowing him to remain in the Milwaukee Brewers' lineup until his appeal is heard.
Fielder was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount for "inappropriate and aggressive conduct" during a confrontation with plate umpire Wally Bell on Sunday, when the Brewers lost 6-4 at Houston. The first baseman was ejected after arguing a called third strike and had to be restrained by bench coach Dale Sveum.
Fielder said he didn't think he made contact with Bell during the confrontation.
"We're both over 250 pounds, so if our stomachs touch, that's going to happen," Fielder said.
Brewers manager Ned Yost, who eventually stepped in to separate Fielder from the umpire on Sunday, said it was possible that Fielder might have shoved him into Bell as Fielder was arguing the call.
"I think that was part of it," Yost said. "But I don't remember it myself."
Fielder was in the Brewers' lineup for Wednesday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, and it is unclear when his appeal will be heard.
Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said the appeal date depends on the availability of Major League Baseball executive vice president of administration John McHale, who hears player appeals, and officials with the MLB Players Association charged with preparing appeals. The team does not play an official role in the appeal, Ash said.
Fielder said that Bell's continuation of the argument after Fielder had turned to walk away might have set him off.
"I was kind of done talking and I was walking away," Fielder said. "Maybe him coming at me a little bit, maybe, I think that's what caused it most of all."
Fielder said the incident was out of character for him, as he rarely talks back to umpires.
"When I do it, it's nothing personal -- because I never argue with them, that's my point," Fielder said.
And when he does argue, Yost figures Fielder has a reason.
"If Prince is complaining about a call, I'm about 99 percent sure that [the umpire] missed it," Yost said.
The Brewers began the day in first place in the NL Central, but are only 1½ games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and would prefer not to be without their young slugger for three critical games.
Fielder, the starting first baseman for the NL in the All-Star Game last month, is having a breakout season at the plate. A leading candidate for MVP, he entered the day leading the league with 37 home runs. He was batting .288 with 89 RBIs and a .618 slugging percentage, second in the league to Florida's Miguel Cabrera (.619).
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press