Sexson issued 6-game suspension for charging mound Thursday

Updated: May 10, 2008, 1:42 AM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Seattle slugger Richie Sexson was suspended for six games and fined Friday by Major League Baseball after charging the mound and throwing his helmet at a Texas pitcher the previous night.

Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, cited Sexson for "violent and aggressive actions."

[+] EnlargeKason Gabbard
AP Photo/Kevin P. CaseyTexas pitcher Kason Gabbard is tackled Thursday by Richie Sexson during the fourth inning in Seattle.
Sexson asked the players' association to appeal, and any suspension will be delayed until after a hearing.

Sexson was in the starting lineup at first base and batting sixth in Friday night's 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He declined to comment on the penalties, citing advice from the players' union.

Seattle's Felix Hernandez and Texas' Gerald Laird and Sidney Ponson also were fined.

Sexson charged the mound and flung his helmet at Kason Gabbard after the left-hander threw an eye-high pitch to him that was more over the plate than inside in the fourth inning of Seattle's 5-0 loss.

The benches cleared but no punches were thrown. Sexson was ejected.

The Mariners had lost eight of nine heading into Friday night's game, part of the reason for Sexson's frustration. The father of three, including toddler twins, also spent a restless night Wednesday with an undisclosed emergency family matter that caused him to miss that night's game.

Seattle manager John McLaren said Sexson's suspension was probably longer than expected because he threw his helmet and it hit Gabbard in the back as the pitcher bent over to tackle the 6-foot-8 Sexson.

"I wish he would have dropped his helmet off on the way," McLaren said, knowing his already slumping offense is in danger of losing its one home run hitter for almost a week.

Gabbard had bandages covering scrapes and bruises on both of his knees Friday. He is looking forward to making his next start Tuesday at home -- against Seattle.

"I had a bunch of guys on top of me and I don't really know what happened after that," said Gabbard, who came off the disabled list Thursday after being sidelined with a stiff back.

"I'm looking ahead and looking forward to my next start. It's against the Mariners and I'm going to go out there and honestly pitch the best I can."

McLaren said the Mariners will present evidence to Watson -- things allegedly said by Rangers players after Sexson charged the mound -- that Seattle hopes will lead to a reduced penalty for Sexson.

"There's some things that we know that we are going to put on the table," McLaren said. "He'll have some things that he can give Bob on the situation."

Tensions began to build in the top half of the fourth when Hernandez hit Ian Kinsler, who had homered in the second, in the back with a fastball. Kinsler turned toward Hernandez, who put his arms out then stared at Kinsler as the second baseman walked to first.

When benches cleared, Hernandez was restrained by three players, including former Mariners closer Eddie Guardado, now with Texas.

"Yeah, I think the fine is fair," the 22-year-old Hernandez said, unconvincingly. Then he refused to talk about it.

Ponson left the bench and appeared to get in a shouting match with Hernandez. He disagreed with his fine -- vehemently.

"Felix said he was going to whip my [butt], and the umpire was in front of me. I didn't move. I just smiled. That's it -- and I'm getting fined," Ponson said in Arlington, Texas, before the Rangers hosted Oakland. "I think that's being ridiculous.

"So basically they're telling me next time I get off the bench, go and hit somebody and get your money's worth. ... I am going to appeal because I want to sit down and talk to Bob Watson, see what the hell he's thinking."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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