NEW YORK (AP) - Detroit designated hitter Gary Sheffield and San Diego catcher Josh Bard were suspended for three games each by the commissioner's office Friday for confrontations with umpires the previous night.
Both players filed appeals, meaning they cannot be penalized until after hearings and decisions on the appeals.
Sheffield was penalized for ``aggressive actions directed at umpire Greg Gibson'' at Cleveland, according to Bob Watson, baseball's vice president for discipline. Gibson ejected Sheffield in the fifth inning after the slugger argued a strike call, then broke his bat on a groundout and threw away the piece of wood still in his hands.
Sheffield denied throwing the bat handle at Gibson.
``If I want to throw a bat at an umpire, I'll turn around and throw it at him,'' Sheffield told The Detroit News. ``The only thing I had in my hand was a little piece of the handle and I threw it towards our dugout, anyway.
``When I threw the bat down, I was letting him know I was (angry), but that's it, and then I was going to go to the dugout. Then he said something to me, telling me not to throw the bat like that.
``I said, `Last time I checked, I paid for the bat, I can throw it any way I want. How should I throw it?' At the point, he said, 'You're outta here.' That's when it boiled over. That's when I told him what I think of him as a person and as an umpire.''
Sheffield suggested to the Detroit Free Press that he would expose a ``conspiracy'' within the game if he is not cleared of wrongdoing.''
``Once they see the tape, and they still suspend me, then we're going to talk about this conspiracy that's going on,'' he said. ``If it ain't no conspiracy, then I shouldn't be suspended at all.''
Bard was suspended for ``aggressive actions, including making contact with umpire Ed Rapuano'' at Pittsburgh.
Bard hit an 11th-inning drive that appeared to reach the right-field seats for his second homer of the game. Bard took his home run trot and put his catching gear back on, only to have Joe West's umpiring crew reverse the call after Pirates manager Jim Tracy successfully argued the drive struck a thin metal railing above the right-field wall and did not leave the park.
The reversal changing it to a double caused Bard to race off the bench and start yelling at the umpires. Bard chased the umpires from second base to first. Padres manager Bud Black also was ejected for arguing.
Bard, who matched a career high with four hits in Friday's 4-3, 10-inning loss at Washington, wouldn't talk about the potential suspension.
``We'll appeal it and we'll go through the process,'' he said. ``We'll just go through the process.''
When asked Friday if Bard bumped Rapuano, Black said, ``He might have. I don't know how significant the contact was.''
Black indicated that an appeal could result in a shortened suspension.
``A lot of times, that does happen when you state your case,'' Black said.
Both players also were fined.
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