- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 18, 2005

ARLINGTON, Texas — Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson was suspended one game and fined $1,000 yesterday for his on-field actions during Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Robinson, who appealed his suspension and thus was in the dugout for last night’s game against the Texas Rangers, received the same punishment as Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Scioscia did not appeal and served his suspension last night when Los Angeles played Florida.

Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly, meanwhile, was suspended 10 games for having pine tar on his glove — the discovery of which set off Tuesday night’s incident. He has appealed, leaving him available to pitch until the matter is resolved, though the 10-game suspension was in line with previous cases of doctored balls.

Robinson said he was surprised to learn of his punishment and appealed because he does not believe he deserved the same fate as Scioscia. Robinson has a conference-call hearing scheduled Monday, when the Nationals are due to open a three-game series in Pittsburgh. He’s free to manage during the entire Texas series.

“I’ll take the fine, but this is going overboard with it,” Robinson said. “If there were punches thrown, I could understand that. But there were no punches thrown. I think under the circumstances, a $1,000 fine is pretty significant. So I think that would be enough. But a $1,000 fine on top of a game suspension? I just think that’s a little much.”

Robinson said he believes Scioscia deserved greater punishment because the Angels manager instigated the bench-clearing incident by walking up to Robinson following Donnelly’s ejection and saying he was now to going to “undress” every Nationals pitcher who entered the game.

Robinson said he was only responding to Scioscia’s “threat” by getting in the opposing manager’s face and engaging in a heated argument. The two had to be separated by umpires.

In a release announcing the punishments, Major League Baseball said both were suspended “for their aggressive and inappropriate actions, which led to the bench-clearing incident during the top of the seventh.” The decision was handed down by Bob Watson, MLB’s vice president of on-field operations.

“I didn’t instigate the situation,” Robinson said. “I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t start it. All I was doing was replying to what he had said to me. …

“The fact that I’m being suspended also? I think it’s overkill. And the person that initiated the whole thing is penalized the same as I am. … I totally disagree with that, in this situation, because of him being the aggressor. He threw flames on the fire.”

Managers do not usually appeal suspensions because they are not represented by a union as players are. Robinson, though, was allowed to request an appeal through MLB vice president of administration John McHale Jr. McHale granted Robinson’s request and will hear the manager’s argument.

No other Nationals were suspended, though Robinson said he expects right fielder Jose Guillen to be fined $500 for his actions. Guillen appeared to try to go after Scioscia — his former manager in Anaheim — and had to be hauled back to the dugout by two coaches and a teammate.

“I know Guillen is going to be fined,” Robinson said. “I know that for a fact. After that, I don’t know.”

Guillen, who was not in the lineup last night because he was feeling ill, had not been informed of any punishment for his on-field actions.

It doesn’t appear he will be punished at all for his off-field words. Following Wednesday’s series finale, Guillen ripped into Scioscia, saying his former manager was “like a piece of garbage.”

Robinson said he would have preferred Guillen kept his mouth shut.

“Stay under the radar. Don’t wake them up,” Robinson said. “Be the bigger man about it. And he was, for almost 23/4 games.”

Scioscia voiced no complaints about his fine and suspension. Bench coach Joe Maddon filled in for him in last night’s game.

“I’ll probably be upstairs or in the clubhouse. Things will probably run smoother,” Scioscia said, grinning.

Donnelly thought he deserved to be disciplined, saying, “A rule’s a rule,” but he believed 10 days was excessive.

“I don’t have any anger. I’m not denying the fact that I had some pine tar on my glove — I did,” he said. “But similar circumstances with other players have resulted in lesser lengths in penalties. I’m not using it to cheat.”

Notes — Right-hander Zach Day, on the disabled list with a fractured right forearm, rejoined the Nationals in Texas. Day, who had been in Cincinnati since going on the 15-day DL May31, played catch in front of pitching coach Randy St. Claire before last night’s game. He’s eligible to come off the DL now, but the club has set no timetable for his return.

Day’s return made for an awkward situation of sorts. Before his injury was discovered, he had been optioned to Class AAA New Orleans. Then the same day he went on the DL, general manager Jim Bowden said he had a deal in place to trade Day — sources said to the Florida Marlins or the Colorado Rockies.

Day was not happy about the way he was treated by Robinson, but yesterday he said the two had spoken amicably and that he’s ready to move on.

“The whole circumstances of those three days was pretty wild. A lot of things happened,” Day said. “But it was good to have two weeks to clear my head and get things straightened out.” …

The Nationals signed 17 of their draft picks yesterday to join already-signed first-round pick Ryan Zimmerman. Sixteen of Washington’s top 20 selections are now signed.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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