NEW YORK Umpire Brian Runge was suspended for one game Thursday for bumping into New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel before ejecting him earlier in the week.
Manuel and center fielder Carlos Beltran also were fined by Major League Baseball for arguing with Runge in the fourth inning of the Mets' game against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.
Beltran started talking to Runge after he took two called strikes from R.A. Dickey to begin the inning. Runge took off his mask and continued the dialogue before he brushed dirt off home plate. Manuel then came out and started arguing.
Runge bumped into Manuel before throwing him out of the game. The manager walked to the bench after getting a few more words in as the Shea Stadium crowd roared.
Beltran continued the conversation and Runge quickly threw him out. An incensed Beltran then got in Runge's face and had to be held back before Manuel came out to escort the All-Star to the dugout.MLB said Runge's suspension will be served immediately.
ASTROS RELEASE CHACON: Shawn Chacon was put on waivers Thursday by the Houston Astros, a day after he got into a physical altercation with general manager Ed Wade. If another team doesn't claim Chacon by Monday, the Astros say they will release the pitcher and terminate his contract for cause, which would set off a confrontation with the players' association over the nearly $1 million that would remain on Chacon's contract. "Based on the information we have to date, we believe the Astros' response violates the Basic Agreement," union general counsel Michael Weiner said. "If Shawn Chacon clears waivers and is released, we will pursue appropriate relief on his behalf."
MATSUI SITS AGAIN: New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui remained out of the lineup and the batting cage with a sore left knee Thursday and will be re-examined Friday by team doctors. If he is cleared to play, Matsui could be the designated hitter for the first of the Yankees' two games Friday against the Mets. If the doctors don't like what they see, Matsui might be headed to the disabled list.
FAN TO AUCTION GRIFFEY HR BALL: The Florida Marlins fan who says he caught the baseball that Ken Griffey Jr. hit for his 600th career home run plans to sell it in an auction. Joe Scherer said Thursday he decided to put the ball in the Aug. 1 auction after consulting with other people, including family and friends, in the aftermath of the June 9 game in Miami. Doug Allen, president of Mastro Auctions in suburban Chicago, expects the ball to attract substantial bidding interest and could sell for at least $50,000.
ZAMBRANO AIMS FOR ALL-STAR GAME: Carlos Zambrano wants to pitch in next month's All-Star game to help the Chicago Cubs gain homefield advantage in the World Series. Zambrano, 8-3 with a 3.13 ERA, went on the 15-day disabled list June 19 because of a right shoulder strain and likely will be activated to start July 4 at St. Louis. The All-Star game is July 15 at Yankee Stadium.
PIRATES' SNELL ON DL: Pirates right-hander Ian Snell was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a muscle strain in his right elbow. The move freed up a roster spot for right-handed reliever Denny Bautista, acquired Wednesday from the Detroit Tigers.
PINIELLA JOINS ALL-STAR STAFF: Cubs manager Lou Piniella was selected Thursday to replace fired New York Mets manager Willie Randolph on the NL coaching staff for next month's All-Star game at Yankee Stadium. The decision by Colorado's Clint Hurdle, the NL manager, marks the second time he decided not to choose former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers.