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Thursday, May 27, 2010
MLB probing Guillen, West incident

By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com

Major League Baseball will investigate the actions that took place Wednesday in Cleveland when Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle were ejected by umpire Joe West.

West called two balks on Buehrle, who tossed his glove to the mound after the second one in the third inning and was ejected. Guillen was ejected after arguing the first balk call, in the second inning.

"The pitcher balked, and I called a balk, and he balked a second time and he got ejected for throwing his glove," West said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Ozzie came out to protect his pitcher [after the first balk], which was probably a good idea at the time, because Buehrle was drawing lines in dirt on the mound [to show he's not moving his leg past where the rules stipulate], and he was about to get ejected then.

"[Guillen] even said he was out there not to argue the balk but to protect his pitcher, which he should come out in that situation. I said, 'Everything is OK now, Ozzie, you can go back to the dugout.' And he got mad, because I told him you can go back. He used a few profanity-laced lines and that got him ejected."

Guillen and Buehrle both made comments after the game that could draw sanctions.

"Sometimes he thinks [expletive] people pay to watch him [expletive] umpire," Guillen said after the White Sox beat the Indians 5-4. "He's the type of guy that wants to control the game. ... I deserve respect and the players here deserve respect here, too.

"When you tell the manager to get the [expletive] off the field, I don't think that's a good way to handle situations. ... I'll be waiting for my fine."

West denied using profanity.

"I quit using profanity a long time go, when the league president in the Southern League fined me $25 and I didn't have $25 to pay," West said. "I don't use profanity on the field."

Guillen said on Thursday that he hadn't heard from the league. Speaking before his team opened a series against Tampa Bay on Thursday, the manager reiterated his belief that he didn't "say anything to disrespect anybody or the game" when he criticized West.

West was asked if there are occasions when he could turn his back instead of confronting the manager or player.

"I did turn my back," he said. "I walked into right field. I didn't do anything confrontational. I called a balk because it was a balk, and I can't do anything more than that."

MLB director of discipline Bob Watson will meet with MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Jimmie Lee Solomon and review the tapes as well as reports sent to his office.

"We have either an umpire supervisor or umpire observer at every game," Watson said. "We will review all information available and make a determination on what needs to be done."

Watson said a decision could come as early as Friday afternoon.

MLB does not announce disciplinary actions against umpires, although they are common. If umpires receive more than a few reports from umpire supervisors that they didn't meet standards in the game, it could affect the umpire's ability to get assignments such as the All-Star Game and playoffs, which are extra paydays.

Umpires can be fined and suspended, but those situations are never announced.

MLB does announce suspensions of managers and players, although it won't announce fines in those cases.

It was ironic that West ejected Buehrle, who is considered one of the fastest-working pitchers in the game. West was involved in controversy earlier this season when he criticized the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees for the slow pace of their games.

"[That] is what's kind of disheartening, this is one of the fastest-working pitchers in the world. We're not trying to get him out of the game," West said. "As soon as I kicked him out of the game, I was thinking, 'This is great, now how long is this game going to take?'

"We're not looking to pick on anybody The simple fact of the matter is he balked. He didn't like it, he threw his glove and that's what happened. Things like that happen. I don't hold any ill will toward him or Ozzie. I think it's one of those things that just happened."

Guillen criticized West's handling of the situation, but also said there were no lingering personal feelings.

"I think Joe is one of the best umpires in the game, there's no doubt. I'm the type of guy, no matter what happened yesterday, to me it's another day. I'm not going to hold any grudges against him," Guillen said.

"That's part of the game. That's my job. ... I never criticized him about the call. I never did. That's his call and I always respect that. I say what I feel about that particular moment. I think what I said was right."

Buehrle didn't have kind words for West, who is a country music singer and songwriter with his own website.

"I think he's too worried about promoting his CD, and I think he likes seeing his name in the papers a little bit too much instead of worrying about the rules," Buehrle said.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.