ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Rangers third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera never left the dugout and says he wasn’t trying to hit an umpire with the equipment he threw onto the field after being ejected from a game.
Cabrera is appealing a four-game suspension and undisclosed fine from Major League Baseball that was handed down Friday, a day after umpire crew chief Bill Miller was hit on the foot by a small shin guard or batting gloves.
"I wasn’t trying to hit anybody. I think the umpire is the last guy you want to hit," Cabrera said Friday. "I was just trying to throw the gloves out there to let him know I was (unhappy), instead of walking back to home plate."
The Rangers’ lineup for Friday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox included Cabrera.
Cabrera tossed the shin guard with the gloves wrapped inside of it after his ejection in the sixth inning of a 4-2 win over Cleveland on Thursday. That was a couple of pitches to the next batter after Cabrera was upset about a called third strike by home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
After striking out for the third time in the game, Cabrera stayed at home plate momentarily and calmly expressed his displeasure with the call.
Cabrera saw video of the pitch after going back to the dugout, where he was when he started chirping and got ejected by Eddings. Cabrera threw the equipment while Miller was talking with Rangers manager Chris Woodward, who also felt something hit his foot.
"It was mid-argument. I was like, ‘OK, this argument’s over,"’ Woodward said.
"I saw it was a ball. It’s been happening all year. If you do it to me on the first pitch or the second pitch, I don’t care because I still have pitches left, but when you take the bat out of my hand, that’s not right," Cabrera said. "At some point you are going to get mad."
Cabrera’s suspension came in the same week that San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado was suspended for one game when MLB said he made contact with plate umpire Bill Welke after being ejected for arguing a called third strike.
After his ejection last Saturday at Colorado, Machado slammed his batting helmet to the ground and jawed with Welke. After manager Andy Green and third base coach Glenn Hoffman eased Machado away from the argument, the four-time All-Star then flung his bat into the backstop.
Machado appealed his suspension and fine, contending that he didn’t make any contact with the umpire.
The MLB Umpires Association said in a tweet Tuesday that Machado was suspended for contact with an umpire "and VIOLENTLY throwing his bat against the backstop with absolutely no regard to anyone’s safety." The tweet, accompanied with several hashtags, added that "Violence in the workplace is not tolerated" and asked "Is this truly what MLB wants to teach our youth?"
Major League Baseball said it was inappropriate for the umpire’s union to comment on the suspension, and said in a statement that MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre "considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline."
Woodward described ejection of Cabrera as "a quick hook" and the suspension against him as "pretty steep." The Rangers manager said he didn’t see all of what happened with Machado in Colorado, and wasn’t going to make comparisons to that incident.
"Anytime you make contact with an umpire … even if it’s like a feather, you’re making contact, you’ve almost got to assume that there will be some sort of suspension," Woodward said. "I don’t think (Cabrera) intended to hit the umpire. I think he was trying to show his disapproval."