- The Washington Times - Monday, June 6, 2005

The Washington Nationals fined pitcher Tomo Ohka an undisclosed amount yesterday for “contempt” directed at manager Frank Robinson because of his behavior in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 7-3 victory against the Florida Marlins.

When Robinson went to the mound to remove the struggling right-hander, Ohka turned his back and refused to hand him the ball.

Robinson was forced to snatch the ball from Ohka’s hand before he turned the game over to reliever Sun-woo Kim with one out and two on in a 3-3 game.

“I don’t know what it is, but you still don’t be disrespectful to me,” Robinson said. ?When I come out to get the ball, you hand me the ball. When I come out there … it’s not going to do you any good. You’re gone. Give me the ball and go.”

Ohka (4-3, 3.33 ERA) has been inconsistent this season. After three straight good outings, he lasted just 31/3 innings Saturday and allowed three runs — two earned — on seven hits.

“I don’t think anybody likes to pay a fine,” Ohka said. “I don’t like it, but it’s [Robinson’s] decision.”

Said Robinson: “He has this thing, and it goes back for years, that I don’t have confidence in him. I don’t give him a chance like I do other pitchers to work out of jams. He just thinks that I have something against him personally, I guess.”

Robinson inserted Ohka as a pinch runner for catcher Brian Schneider in the seventh inning yesterday. Ohka scored the run that tied the game at 2-2 when Carlos Baerga was hit by Marlins reliever Jim Mecir with the bases loaded.

“I don’t have a doghouse. I don’t,” Robinson said. “I didn’t want to use another player at the time. I still had [Gary] Bennett, and I still had [Brad] Wilkerson, but I didn’t want to use those players there, and [Ohka is] a pretty good runner. He understands what’s going on out there and pretty smart on the bases. I’ve utilized him before.”

Robinson had a similar run-in May3, when starter Zach Day didn’t acknowledge him when he was pulled after 32/3 innings in a 4-2 loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers. That was the last start for Day, who was relegated to the bullpen and eventually optioned to the minors.

Ohka also was sent to the bullpen earlier this season. He returned to the rotation after pitching 52/3 scoreless innings in relief May17 against the Milwaukee Brewers at RFK Stadium.

Byrd ruling today

Robinson said he does not expect the league office to give outfielder Marlon Byrd a “lengthy suspension” today for making contact with an umpire during Saturday night’s game against the Marlins.

First base umpire Bill Miller ejected Byrd for arguing a third strike on a checked-swing appeal to Miller between the sixth and seventh innings. When Miller tossed Byrd for his persistent dissent, Byrd charged toward first base from shortstop.

Joe Brinkman, the crew chief and second base umpire, tried to stop Byrd from going after Miller by grabbing him. Byrd, an avid weight-lifter, broke Brinkman’s grasp, and the veteran umpire ended up on his back between first and second base.

“I saw Byrd running toward my partner Bill Miller, and I thought I would try and get in front of him,” Brinkman said Saturday. “Once I couldn’t get in front of him, I put my arm out and he hit my arm, just spun me around and flipped me, and I ended up on the ground. That’s all that happened.”

The only angle on replay tapes is from way behind home plate, and it’s hard to determine what happened.

“What it really depends on is the report the umpires sent in and then what they see when they review the tapes, what they think of the incident,” Robinson said. “They’ll reach a judgment on those two things. It was an accident as far as I was able to determine. That wasn’t the point. The point was him getting run out of the game as far as I’m concerned. We’re already short-handed going into the game, and we can’t afford to lose players by ejection. He has to be smarter than that.”

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