- The Washington Times - Friday, June 10, 2005

Washington Nationals outfielder Marlon Byrd was suspended for two games and fined $1,000 yesterday by Major League Baseball for “aggressive conduct” following his ejection in Saturday’s game against the Florida Marlins.

Byrd appealed yesterday’s ruling and was in uniform for last night’s game against the Oakland Athletics at RFK Stadium. He will be allowed to play until the appeal process is complete.

Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for MLB, announced Byrd’s suspension last night.

The incident took place between the sixth and seventh innings when Byrd argued with and was ejected by first-base umpire Bill Miller, who had called him out on a checked-swing appeal.

After being ejected, Byrd sprinted from shallow left field toward first base to confront Miller. Joe Brinkman, the second-base umpire and crew chief, tried to grab Byrd as he ran, but the muscular Byrd broke Brinkman’s grasp and knocked the umpire onto his back between first and second base. Brinkman suffered a scraped right forehead.

“I’m very disappointed,” Byrd said. “There was no intent for Joe to fall. I was trying to get out of his way, and he said that I hit his arm. I try not to be a distraction to the team, and something like this happens, especially when the team is winning. … We’re appealing it, and we’ll take it from there.”

Vidro on schedule

Second baseman Jose Vidro is scheduled to have a protective walking boot removed from his left ankle tomorrow and said he is optimistic he can return before the July 11-13 All-Star break.

“When the guys go on the road, I’m going to stay back and try to advance my treatment and try to get my legs ready and try and play a week after the team comes back,” Vidro said yesterday.

The Nationals embark on a nine-game, 11-day road trip Monday and return to RFK Stadium on June 24.

Vidro, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 9 with a torn tendon in his ankle, said he still experiences pain when moving laterally.

“He would like to be here like any competitor,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “He’s anxious to get back, but we’re emphasizing that we’re not going to rush it.”

Vidro’s backup at second base, utility man Jamey Carroll, sat out his second consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. Veteran Carlos Baerga again started at second.

Carroll said his ankle feels much better and he could have played last night, but Robinson hinted he may hold Carroll out of this weekend’s series against the Seattle Mariners.

“It’s not to the point that it’s going to keep him out any long length of time, but you certainly want to get that thing well before you go out there and run around on it and it puffs up on you again,” Robinson said.

Short finally makes it

The Nationals purchased infielder Rick Short from Class AAA New Orleans, giving Short his first major league call-up in 12 years as a professional. Short, 32, entered this season as a .312 career minor league hitter.

“It was a long-awaited phone call,” Short said in a brief interview. “It really won’t sink in until much later in the night. My initial reaction was, “Finally, finally, I can say I played in the big leagues.”

Short was hitting .341 with 16 doubles, five home runs and 30 RBI in 51 games for the New Orleans Zephyrs.

Extra bases

Nationals outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds (hamstring) was activated off the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Class AAA New Orleans. Hammonds spent the past three days on a rehab assignment at Class AA Harrisburg. …

Bob Feller, the former Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame pitcher, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The Nationals are prepared for a Japanese media invasion tonight when Ichiro Suzuki and the Seattle Mariners open a three-game weekend series. The club’s public relations office has issued more than 45 credentials to Japanese media outlets.

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