Boston’s Papelbon suspended 3 games, he appeals

Posted June 07, 2011, at 7:53 p.m.
Last modified June 07, 2011, at 9:24 p.m.

NEW YORK — Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon has been suspended three games for making contact with an umpire.

The suspension was to begin Tuesday night against the New York Yankees, but Papelbon is appealing.

Major League Baseball also fined Papelbon an undisclosed amount for his actions in the ninth inning last Saturday, when he blew a four-run lead as the Oakland Athletics tied it at 7. Boston won 9-8 in 14 innings.

Papelbon was upset with the balls and strikes calls of plate umpire Tony Randazzo. The pitcher said something to Randazzo after Conor Jackson’s two-run single and the umpire took off his mask and replied. Papelbon rushed toward the umpire and was ejected. At one point during the argument, Papelbon bumped Randazzo with his chest.

Yanks’ Teixeira leaves game

NEW YORK — Mark Teixeira has left the New York Yankees’ game against Boston in the first inning with a bruised right knee after being hit by a pitch from Jon Lester.

X-rays were negative and Teixeira will be re-evaluated Wednesday.

Batting right-handed, the switch-hitting first baseman was struck squarely on the kneecap. Teixeira screamed in pain almost immediately and fell at home plate, rolling back and forth in the dirt with one hand on his knee.

Teixeira could put little weight on his leg and was helped off the field. He limped gingerly down the dugout steps.

Jorge Posada came in to run for Teixeira.

Three batters later, Lester hit Russell Martin with a pitch above the right knee. Martin walked to first base.

Girardi knows draft pick well

NEW YORK — Yankees manager Joe Girardi got to know Dante Bichette Jr. long before New York selected him with its first pick in the baseball draft.

“There were times that we were on the road — when we were in Chicago — we’d all stay at our house and little Dante sometimes had a hard time going to sleep at night and we’d get in the car and drive him around,” Girardi said of his late-night lullaby rides with Colorado Rockies teammate Dante Bichette.

Now, Girardi could get a chance to guide the slugging 18-year-old as a budding big league ballplayer.

The Yankees took Bichette Jr., a third baseman like his dad, out of Orangewood Christian High School in Maitland, Fla., with the 51st pick Monday night. The Yankees lost their first-round pick to Tampa Bay as compensation for signing reliever Rafael Soriano.

“I still call him Uncle Joe,” Bichette Jr. said on a conference call Tuesday, adding he “might have to stop that.”

The Yankees would be ecstatic if little Dante turned out to be as successful as his dad. The older Bichette was a four-time All-Star with 274 career homers in 14 major league seasons.

The younger Bichette said he plays a lot like his dad, with the same strengths and weaknesses. He said his dad really helps with the baseball side of things.

“There’s no greater tool than my dad,” Bichette Jr. said.

Bichette Jr. has committed to the University of Georgia, but hopes to sign quickly with the Yankees. That would be just fine with Girardi, who played with the Bichette Jr.’s dad from 1993-95 for the expansion Rockies.

Girardi said he and Bichette became fast friends despite their differences in personality — the families are so close Girardi named his son Dante.

“He was more of a free spirit and everyone knows how I am,” Girardi said with a laugh. “But for whatever reason I found it really enjoyable to be around him. We would work out together and there were things we would do together. Little Dante was born basically that first season and he was a wonderful little kid.”

Bichette Jr. plans on working hard to stay a third baseman, but with Alex Rodriguez signed through 2017, the youngster said playing the outfield is a possibility, too.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Bichette Jr. batted .640 with 10 homers, 40 RBIs and 58 runs in 30 games as a senior this year. He was ranked by Baseball America as the 15th-best high school player in Florida.

“Dante is one of the guys in this draft we thought had an impact bat and the potential to hit for big power in the middle of the order,” said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees vice president of amateur scouting. “He’s someone with an advanced makeup and work ethic who possesses the desire and drive to be a special major leaguer.”

Marquis, Vasquez suspended

NEW YORK — Washington Nationals pitcher Jason Marquis and Arizona reliever Esmerling Vasquez have been suspended for throwing at hitters last weekend after both teams had been warned.

Marquis was penalized five games and fined an undisclosed amount Tuesday by Major League Baseball. Vasquez was suspended three games and also fined. Both pitchers have appealed and can play until the process is complete.

Managers Jim Riggleman of the Nationals and Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks were each suspended for one game and fined. Riggleman will sit out Tuesday night at San Francisco and Gibson will miss Arizona’s game at Pittsburgh.

“I expected it, I think that’s what happens,” Gibson said. “There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Arizona bench coach Alan Trammell managed in Gibson’s absence.

The Nationals and Diamondbacks were warned in the fifth inning Sunday. Marquis then hit Justin Upton in the sixth and Vasquez hit Danny Espinosa in the eighth.

“Part of the game. I thought J-Up handled it well, took his base,” Gibson said.

“You have to command the inside part of the plate. There’s little room for error in there, that’s why a lot of pitchers don’t like to throw in there. If they leave it a little bit out over the plate, it goes a long way, so you have to tuck it in there, and if it runs on in, you’re going to hit a guy, and that happens.”

Gibson added: “On our side, I told you about the scouting reports on these guys, kind of crowd them and we crowd them and we hit a few of those guys and they hit a few of us, and the games were very intense and very even, so I thought that was a good series overall, good baseball.”

 

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