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Archive for Saturday, May 20, 2006

Houston’s Springer, skipper suspended

May 20, 2006

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— Houston pitcher Russ Springer was suspended for four games Friday after throwing several times at Barry Bonds and eventually hitting the San Francisco standout outfielder earlier this week.

Astros manager Phil Garner was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball.

The strange sequence Tuesday began when Bonds led off the fifth inning of the Giants' 14-3 win. Springer's first pitch went behind the seven-time NL MVP's back, drawing a warning from plate umpire Joe West.

The next three pitches all came inside, including one that hit Bonds' bat handle for strike one. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Springer hit Bonds in the right shoulder. Springer and Garner were then ejected, and Bonds took his base without incident.

"I don't think that Russ was throwing at him," Garner said. "I think that the first couple of pitches were indicative of him trying to get the ball in on him.

"Obviously when you hit a guy in the shoulder it doesn't look good. But he was trying to pitch it in. We hadn't been able to get the balls where we wanted to."

Bonds has hit 713 home runs, one shy of matching Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record of 755, and many people believe Bonds' accomplishments are tainted because of alleged steroids use.

Giants manager Felipe Alou said he thinks the suspension sends a message.

"I'm glad some people thought the guy was throwing at Barry," Alou said. "The guy behind the plate thought he was throwing at him and ejected him. And now the league office thinks so. Anything was enough."

Garner said the Astros won't appeal and Springer will begin serving his suspension Friday night when the Astros host the Texas Rangers.

Springer remained in Louisiana with his wife Friday after leaving Houston on Tuesday night to be with her for scheduled surgery.

Garner said the recovery of Springer's wife was a factor in his decision not to appeal the ruling.

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