Jim Joyce kept from umpiring D-backs

Updated: June 1, 2011, 11:36 PM ET
By Amy K. Nelson | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- A day before the anniversary of the game in which umpire Jim Joyce botched a call at first base that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game, Major League Baseball confirmed that Joyce is not allowed to umpire any series in which Galarraga's team plays, citing the pair's business relationship.

Joyce and Galarraga co-authored a book detailing the game last June 2 in which Joyce's call with two outs in the ninth inning kept the pitcher from tossing a perfect game. The book, "Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History," written with Daniel Paisner, is due out Thursday.

Galarraga is currently with the Arizona Diamondbacks' Triple-A team in Reno, but were he to return to the big leagues, the two would not be allowed to appear on a major league field together.

Galarraga
Galarraga

"The reason it was done was so that there wasn't any appearance of impropriety," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said.

Umpire crews work together for the entire season, except when a member of the crew takes a vacation and a replacement ump is used. Joyce has already been replaced on a Diamondbacks series this season, during a May 6-8 series in San Diego in which Galarraga started the opening game. Larry Vanover replaced Joyce.

After the series ended on May 8, Joyce returned to his crew and opened a series in Atlanta on May 10, while Vanover switched back to his crew on May 9 and began a series in Anaheim between the Angels and White Sox.

The May 6-8 series is the only one involving the Diamondbacks that Joyce's crew has umpired this season.

A similar arrangement exists between Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf and his brother, Jim, a big league umpire; Jim can not be the home plate umpire in any game when Randy pitches. But Jim Wolf is allowed to man the other three umpire positions on the field when his brother is on the mound.

MLB's decision in the Joyce case means Joyce and Galarraga, who made international news because of their humility and sportsmanship and who will be forever linked because of that June 2 game, will likely never share a field again.

Joyce, one of the top-rated umpires by players in the big leagues, told ESPN.com and Outside The Lines in January that he still thinks about the play every day, and that it will likely bother him for the rest of his life. Joyce could not be reached on Wednesday night.

Galarraga acknowledged the arrangement Wednesday but pointed out that "right now, I'm in the minor leagues."

It's been a difficult year for Galarraga, 29, who was designated for assignment by Detroit this winter and then traded to Arizona. He made the rotation out of spring training, but after going 3-4 with a 5.91 ERA in his first eight starts, he was designated by Arizona, cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A. Galarraga recently spoke of frustration to reporters, telling the Reno Gazette-Journal that he didn't feel he needed to work on anything.

On Thursday, he told ESPN.com he felt he wasn't given enough of a chance with Arizona and added that despite the frustration and being back in Triple-A, he will not surrender his career.

"I love baseball, I love this game," he said. "I don't give up so easy. I want to come back to the big leagues."

Galarraga then paused and added, "I will come back to the big leagues."

Amy K. Nelson is a staff writer for ESPN.com. She can be reached at Amy.K.Nelson@espn.com or on twitter @AmyKNelson