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 NEW YORK (AP) -Umpire Mike Winters was suspended by Major League Baseball for the remainder of the regular season on Wednesday because of his confrontation with San Diego's Milton Bradley last weekend.
The Padres claimed Winters baited Bradley, who has a history of losing his temper. Bradley tore a knee ligament when his manager spun him to the ground while trying to keep him from going after the umpire during Sunday's 7-3 loss to Colorado in San Diego.
Winters was suspended because the commissioner's office concluded he had used a profanity aimed at Bradley, a baseball official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the reasoning for the suspension was not announced.
Padres manager Bud Black declined to comment.
``In this case, I think it's best for my position to just stay away from it,'' he said by phone from San Francisco, where the Padres were to finish a series against the Giants on Wednesday night.
The 48-year-old Winters became a major league umpire in 1990 and worked the World Series in 2002 and last year.
Winters became the first umpire suspended since 2003, when Bruce Froemming and John Hirschbeck each were suspended for 10 days. Froemming made an anti-Semitic slur about an umpiring administrator and baseball said Hirschbeck threatened a senior official in the commissioner's office.
Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, has not decided whether to penalize Bradley, the commissioner's office said.
Bradley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will need surgery, which is expected to sideline him for at least six months. His injury was a blow to the Padres, who began Wednesday with a one-game lead over Colorado and Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.
Trouble began when plate umpire Brian Runge asked Bradley if he had flipped his bat in the ump's direction after taking a called third strike that ended the fifth inning. Runge indicated that Winters told him that Bradley had.
The dispute escalated after Bradley singled, then asked Winters if he told Runge he threw his bat.
First base coach Bobby Meacham and Black said Winters used profanity. Bradley called it ``the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.''
``It's terrible. And now, because of him, my knee's hurt,'' he said after the game. ``If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm taking some action. I'm not going to stand pat and accept this because I didn't do nothing wrong.''
---
AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.
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