Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Full Story on the Estrada ejection

MIAMI — Two Braves could face suspensions after a heated argument in Thursday night's rain-delayed series finale against the Marlins at Dolphins Stadium.

Catcher Johnny Estrada and injured pitcher Mike Hampton were ejected along with manager Bobby Cox in the first inning, when tempers flared over an apparent exchange of words between Estrada and home-plate umpire Doug Eddings.

The game didn't start until 9:51 p.m., following a rain delay of 2 hours, 46 minutes. And before the first inning was through, emotions boiled over.

Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca was batting with two out in the first inning and three Florida runs already in when the incident occurred. Lo Duca had called time out and stepped out of the batter's box for a moment.

TV replays appeared to show Estrada turning his head slightly and speaking to Eddings while in his catcher's crouch.

As Lo Duca was stepping back into the box, Estrada sprang up and wheeled around toward Eddings, dropping his mitt and going face-to-face with the umpire, who immediately ejected him.

Cox ran out of the dugout and got between Estrada and Eddings, as the furious catcher continued shouting at the umpire. Cox picked up the argument, threw his cap and was tossed from the game by Eddings.

As Cox argued, hitting coach Terry Pendleton held back Estrada and tried to calm him. Estrada continued shouting from across the field and was caught by TV cameras flipping his middle finger at Eddings from the dugout.

Eddings apparently heard Hampton say something from the dugout, pointed toward him and told the pitcher he was ejected. Hampton is on the disabled list, and players on the DL face suspensions for arguing with umpires.


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