Bourn appeals suspension for ump bump
Astros center fielder made contact after out call on close play
ST. LOUIS -- Astros center fielder Michael Bourn wasn't surprised when Major League Baseball informed him Tuesday that he had been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for making contact with an umpire three days earlier, which is why he was prepared to appeal.
Bourn filed an appeal through the Major League Baseball Players Association on Tuesday, shortly after Bob Watson, MLB vice president of on-field operations, made the announcement. Bourn was in the lineup Tuesday against the Cardinals and can play until the appeal is dropped or a hearing takes place.
"It's something I expected, so I'm going to appeal the suspension, and we'll see where it goes from there," said Bourn, who entered Tuesday leading the National League with 11 stolen bases and hitting .284.
Bourn was disciplined for his aggressive actions, including making contact with umpire Alfonso Marquez, during the bottom of the ninth inning of Saturday's game against the San Diego Padres at Minute Maid Park, after a close play at first base.
"I called Michael this morning to make him aware of the suspension and fine, and he was going to contact the Players Association to file an appeal," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "They'll schedule a hearing out of New York at some point in time, either face-to-face or by some type of video conferencing, and until that point comes, Michael will be available."
Wade believes the punishment was too severe.
"I talked to Bob Watson last night, and he made me aware we were probably heading in that direction," Wade said. "We feel the contact was coincidental, and Michael did not intend to bump Alfonso Marquez. We disagree with the severity of the punishment, and hopefully it gets reversed or reduced at some point in time."
Astros manager Brad Mills, who was ejected by Marquez for arguing balls and strikes a day later, agreed with Wade.
"I was sad to see it was two games, just because the way it happened," he said. "It was accidentally, totally. I was glad to see he appealed it, and we'll go with the process and see what happens."
In the ninth inning Saturday, Bourn hit a routine grounder to Padres shortstop Jerry Hairston, whose throw to first base appeared to arrive about the same time Bourn's foot hit the bag. Marquez called Bourn out, and Bourn took off his helmet and gestured with his arm. The umpire immediately threw Bourn out of the game, then Bourn took two steps toward Marquez and appeared to bump him slightly.
"It was a heat of the moment thing at the time, so we'll see what happens," Bourn said. "We'll go through the appeals process and go from there."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.