Wells starts seven-game suspension for argument with umpire

Updated: September 2, 2007, 2:21 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander David Wells dropped the appeal of his seven-game suspension he drew while with the rival San Diego Padres and began serving the punishment Saturday night.

David Wells


Wells will miss his next scheduled start Wednesday at the Chicago Cubs. That start will be made by left-hander Eric Stults. Stults was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday to make room on the roster for right-hander Esteban Loaiza, who's scheduled to start Monday at Chicago. Stults will be eligible to rejoin the club on Tuesday when the 51s' season is over.

Wells will be eligible to return next Saturday during a series at San Francisco, and could start either that day or the following day.

The Dodgers entered Saturday night in third place in the NL West, four games behind the Padres. They were also four games back in the wild-card race.

The 44-year-old Wells was suspended for his animated argument with an umpire who ejected him on July 7 against the Atlanta Braves, a scene that ended with the pitcher hurling a ball into the screen as he left the field. Wells was also fined $3,000. On Aug. 1, commissioner Bud Selig hit Wells with another $5,000 fine for criticizing the original punishment.

"I don't want to get myself into more trouble," Wells said when asked for comment as the Dodgers came off the field following batting practice prior to Saturday night's game against the Padres. But, he added, "I had no choice."

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said the decision to drop the appeal was made by Wells and his agent.

"They felt it was best to start serving it right away and not go through the appeal process. We concurred," Colletti said.

"If they believed it was going to be seven games no matter what, then it's better off serving it now and get it behind you rather than have some wild-card date that lies ahead," Colletti said.

Wells was designated for assignment by his hometown Padres on Aug. 9. He agreed to a deal with the Dodgers on Aug. 23 and won his first start with them a week ago Sunday night at the New York Mets.

He pitched five strong innings against the Padres on Friday night but got a no-decision in a 6-4 loss.

Wells was ejected by umpire Ed Hickox for questioning calls in the fourth inning of an 8-5 Padres win over Atlanta after Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run homer.

In handing down the original punishment, baseball discipline czar Bob Watson cited Wells' "violent and aggressive actions."

Selig was displeased with several comments Wells made to reporters on July 12 after he was notified of the fine, and with the fact that the big left-hander taped a letter from Watson to the clubhouse wall for reporters and teammates to read.

In criticizing Watson, Wells said the game is changing so much that "pretty soon we'll all put skirts on and we're all going to play softball."

Another comment that bugged the commissioner was when Wells called Watson "a henchman and a yes man for Bud Selig."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press