07/23/10 6:19 PM ET
Wigginton hit with three-game suspension
Orioles All-Star appeals; in starting lineup Friday vs. Twins
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Interim Orioles manager Juan Samuel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz were also ejected in the seventh inning and will be fined along with Wigginton, who indicated the amount was far more than he anticipated.
Now facing his first career suspension on the heels of his second career ejection, Wigginton will fight to get his sentence reduced. The veteran infielder said Thursday night that he didn't make any physical contact with Darling and reiterated on Friday he wasn't aware of the "chest bump" that Darling said he would include in his report.
"I feel like if I bump someone, they're going to move back," said Wigginton, who became red-faced with rage and started screaming at Darling after he ruled J.J. Hardy safe on a tag play at first base. "I know my jersey. I know I got as close as I could. I know that you can't bump an umpire. If I did and didn't realize it, my bad. But I think it was more of a brush, if anything."
Samuel -- who was ejected along with Kranitz by home-plate umpire Bill Hohn one out later -- came out to the field to keep Wigginton from doing something "that [the team] would not be proud of" -- and said on Friday that he saw no contact between the two.
"If he did [make contact], it was probably before [I got out there]," Samuel said of Wigginton. "But I did not look at the video [replay], just at the play -- many times -- at first base."
Samuel agreed that the three-game suspension was harsh, and Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail confirmed on Friday afternoon that the organization's approach will be to appeal the punishment. In the meantime, Wigginton will continue to be in the lineup, and the usually mild-mannered infielder was slated to bat third and play first base again on Friday.
"[Thursday night was] the first time I've seen Wiggy like that," said Samuel, who made sure to get the mileage out of his own tossing by stomping on his baseball cap and flinging it out onto the mound. "Wiggy is kind of quiet. But, you know, I guess it was probably so obvious that he knew he was right, and that's why he reacted the way he reacted."
Questioned after the game, Darling said he saw the replay, although he was hesitant to completely admit he got the call wrong.
"[Wigginton] missed him the first time, and on a close play, he got him the second time, it looked like," Darling said. "It was a close play."
Asked if he wished Darling would come right out and admit he was wrong, Samuel agreed that there has been a shift in the way missed calls are handled today as opposed to in his days as a player.
"[Umpires] are not perfect, but it was just that situation we were in, we thought [Hardy] was out and it was one of those [calls] that went against us," Samuel said. "There's just many [calls] that have gone against us, and I think guys have probably gotten sick of that because we are basically not getting a whole lot of breaks."
Television replays showed that Wigginton clearly tagged both of Hardy's hands, and the Twins shortstop also admitted he was out following the game.
"I thought I was [safe] until I saw the replay," Hardy said. "I just got done talking to [Wigginton], and it seemed like he was in a pretty good mood. I think maybe we were talking about the weather before that pitch, and he said it's been really hot, and then the next thing I know, he's up in Darling's face."
"Umpires are going to miss calls, infielders are going to boot grounders, it's part of baseball," said Wigginton. "I have the option of arguing, and he has the option of throwing me out of the game."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.