Posada suspended for six games

Posted: Sunday, September 09, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) -- By the time Jorge Posada's suspension starts, the New York Yankees might have wrapped up the AL East.

Posada was suspended for six games and fined $3,500 Friday for his confrontation with Andy Fletcher earlier this week in Toronto.

Posada immediately appealed the punishment and drove in a run in the Yankees' 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday which gave New York an 11-game lead in the division.

''The series is very important,'' Posada said. ''They're coming to get us. It's very important for us to extend our lead.''

With only 3 1/2 weeks left in the regular season, Posada hoped to have the suspension resolved in time for him to stay sharp for the Yankees' probable postseason run.

''Time is short,'' he said. ''I hope to have a hearing soon.

"The good thing is we are in New York and the hearings are in New York.''

Robinson said Posada was penalized for ''aggressive arguing, making contact with Fletcher on multiple occasions and throwing equipment onto the playing field.''

Posada declined comment on his reaction to the suspension, which was delayed until after a hearing before Paul Beeston, baseball's chief operating officer.

''We filed an immediate appeal and feel that the discipline that was handed down is totally unwarranted for what occurred in the game,'' said Bob Lenaghan, a lawyer for the Major League Baseball Players Association. ''We look forward to presenting the case to Paul and are confident he will reduce the penalty.''

Posada was ejected after batting in the ninth inning Monday of the Yankees' 7-5 win over Toronto, livid over a called third strike call.

Posada appeared to bump the plate umpire while shouting profanities at the umpire and inadvertently sprayed Fletcher's face with saliva while arguing. The catcher then went to the dugout and threw his helmet and a bat onto the field.

Posada said Tuesday that the umpire made the first contact and that both of them got out of hand. Posada originally thought he had a history with Fletcher, claiming they argued after he was called out to end a game on Aug. 6, but Justin Klemm was behind the plate for that game.

Fletcher wouldn't say whether he agreed with the suspension or not.

''That's not up to me,'' he said in Houston. ''I just sent in a report to Frank Robinson. Everything is up to him. I have no further comment.''

Posada did not discuss his decision to appeal with Joe Torre, but the Yankees manager agreed his catcher's decision.

''We would like to have him this weekend, then we'll see what happens,'' Torre said.

Baseball's longest suspension this season was a 10-game ban on Mike Sweeney of Kansas City on Aug. 16 for charging the mound and starting a bench-clearing brawl against Detroit six days earlier. Tigers catcher Robert Fick received an eight-game suspension in that case.

The Yankees did not criticize Robinson's ruling, but earlier this year Torre and Robinson were at odds over a six-game suspension for pitcher Ted Lilly.

New York also disagreed with the $50,000 fine Roger Clemens got for throwing the barrel of a bat in the direction of Mike Piazza during last year's World Series.

''I think that if you look at this as part of a larger pattern, it's clear the Yankees' success has come at a price,'' said Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the players' association. ''I'm not even saying central baseball has done it consciously, but they don't want to be accused of favoritism and they've gone overboard in the other direction.''

Robinson did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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