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Farnsworth suspended three games04/19/2008 7:00 PM ET
By Pete Kerzel / Special to MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Kyle Farnsworth still insists that the pitch that buzzed behind the head of Manny Ramirez on Thursday night slipped out of his hand. Regardless, the right-handed Yankees reliever was suspended three games on Saturday by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at the Red Sox's left fielder.
The suspension, announced early Saturday afternoon by MLB vice president of on-field operations Bob Watson, drew an immediate rebuke from Farnsworth, who contends that he did nothing wrong, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who expressed amazement that the pitch warranted disciplinary action at all.
"Intentionally, huh?," Farnsworth said. "The ball slipped, and as far as I know, I didn't hit him. If I'm going to hit somebody, it's not going to be in the head, that's for sure. I don't want to endanger anybody's career, and that's definitely not a hitter you throw at."
Based on talks with his agent and Yankees management, Farnsworth has decided to appeal the suspension, the third of his Major League career. While pitching for the Tigers in 2005, Farnsworth was ejected from a July game in Kansas City for his role in a benches-clearing fracas and served a five-game ban after being traded to the Braves. Two years earlier, while with the Chicago Cubs, Farnsworth served a two-game penalty for his role in an on-field melee involving the Reds' Paul Wilson.
"Yes, I was," Farnsworth said when asked if he was surprised by the edict. "Bob's got to do what he's got to do. I don't agree with this, and I'm going to appeal it."
Girardi was equally succinct in his reaction to the news that his bullpen could be forced to make do without Farnsworth for three games. When the appeal will be heard remains in question, since the Yankees are in the midst of a 10-game road trip.
"Shock -- completely shocked," Girardi said before Saturday's game against the Orioles at Camden Yards. "I don't understand it. I disagree with it. It doesn't make any sense to me."
Entering Thursday's game at Yankee Stadium in the seventh inning, Farnsworth sent a fastball behind the helmet of Ramirez, who had homered twice earlier in the game. After the game, Farnsworth told reporters that the ball slipped from his hand, while Girardi explained the incident by saying his reliever was amped up with too much adrenaline.
"That's what's kind of confusing [to] myself," Farnsworth said. "I didn't hit him. There were warnings issued and nobody was ejected. ... I'm not trying to hit the guy."
Though Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had been hit the previous night by Boston's David Aardsma, Farnsworth said that payback wasn't his intention. Ramirez passed off the near-miss as Farnsworth backing up a teammate and didn't seem to have a problem with the pitch.
"I'm definitely not trying to hit [Ramirez]," said Farnsworth, adding that catcher Chad Moeller was set up awaiting an inside pitch. "I respect him. ... Like I said, I don't want to put him in a bad situation. I know he's not making the decision -- it's Bob. So [Ramirez] can say anything he wants."
Girardi called into question the logic of baseball's decision after watching Hideki Matsui get hit twice by the Orioles' Daniel Cabrera in Friday night's 8-2 Yankees loss. Matsui was grazed on the right hand and drilled in the left thigh by a pitcher known to struggle with his control.
"You've got a guy like Daniel Cabrera, and I don't think he's trying to hit anyone, and he comes up and in," Girardi said. "Daniel Cabrera is pitching and he has a live sinker that has a lot of run, and sometimes his ball gets away. Nothing happens there. I just don't understand why [Farnsworth] was suspended for three games."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.