Pudge, Hunter suspended, fined for bench-clearing scuffle

Updated: September 10, 2008, 3:16 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- New York Yankees catcher Ivan Rodriguez and Los Angeles Angels star Torii Hunter were suspended two games each Wednesday for their roles in a bench-clearing scuffle.

Rodriguez took an openhanded swing at Hunter after getting shoved in the back by Hunter, and both players were ejected Monday night.

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

"You expected something because there was a skirmish. Torii went out and Pudge retaliated a little bit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Both were fined, as was Angels pitcher John Lackey. Los Angeles went on to win 12-1.

"John was in the middle of it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was a relatively minor incident. In hindsight, Torii was a little embarrassed. That's not the way Torii is."

Rodriguez and Hunter began serving their suspensions Wednesday, the series finale.

"I figured it would be like a game, but two? I didn't expect that," Hunter said. "You do the crime, you got to do the time. This ain't really trouble. It's just being competitive on the field."

Rodriguez said he's been in fights before but had never been suspended.

"That was just part of the game," he said. "It was just two players that love to play the game, that play the game hard and it happens. I'll just take it now, so I can be ready Saturday."

Hunter wasn't going to play Wednesday anyway because of tightness in his left quadriceps that forced him to leave Tuesday night's game in the sixth inning.

"I still would've taken the suspension because I shoved him. He shoved me first," he said. "You can appeal in major-league baseball, but you can't win."

Rodriguez also wasn't going to play Wednesday, with Jose Molina catching the day game instead.

Hunter, hung up between third and home on Mike Napoli's sixth-inning grounder, came in standing up and bumped into Rodriguez, who tagged him out.

Rodriguez appeared to nudge Hunter with his left elbow after the tag and then walked toward the mound. Hunter turned, took a few steps and pushed Rodriguez in the back. The catcher whipped off his mask and charged at Hunter but was restrained by plate umpire Ted Barrett while missing on a wild swing.

Rodriguez and Hunter, friendly off the field, both said they met later during the game and apologized to each other.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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