US Presswire photo
Jerry Hairston argues with Ed Hickox, with Jim Riggleman trying to intervene.
Nationals infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. has been suspended one game by Major League Baseball and fined an undisclosed amount for "aggressive actions" with umpire Ed Hickox during Friday night's game against the Padres.
Hairston has appealed the suspension and remains in the Nationals' starting lineup today.
"I had no clue ... in my wildest dreams I would get suspended," he said. "That's why I'm appealing. If I did something wrong, guys, I would admit it. If I did something wrong, I'd step up. But I didn't push or shove him, and the video shows it."
The veteran utilityman, who turns 35 today, was ejected by Hickox in the seventh inning of Friday's 2-1 victory over after he complained San Diego left-hander Clayton Richard quick-pitched before he could get set in the batter's box. Hairston claims Hickox had granted him time out and did not let him reset himself in the box before Richard pitched.
Replays appear to show Hairston clearly re-establishing his position in the box and taking a practice swing before asking for time again, after Richard had already begun his delivery to the plate. Hairston wound up hitting a lazy fly ball to center field, though he never attempted to run down the baseline. Instead he immediately argued with Hickox, who wasted little time in ejecting him.
"You've got to give time for the hitter to get set," said Hairston, who played with Richard in San Diego last season. "I even talked to Clayton yesterday about it. That's what he does. He quick-pitches sometimes. Excuse me, most of the time. When I stepped back into the batter's box, he was already on his way and I wasn't set. That's what I was trying to plead my case. I need a chance to get set."
In announcing the suspension, MLB senior vice president of standards and on-field operations Joe Garagiola Jr. cited Hairston for his "aggressive actions, which included making contact" with Hickox.
Hairston did appear to make incidental contact with both Hickox and second base umpire Brian O'Nora during the argument.
"This is the big leagues, and you're going to have your ups and downs, as far as disagreements with umpires," Hairston said. "I respect every umpire and never have I pushed or shoved an umpire, and I never will. I never cussed at him. I felt I pleaded my case, and that's all I did. Sometimes, I can be an emotional guy. I'm very high-strung, so I can be a little more, I guess, showy at times. But I never pushed or shoved him. The video speaks loud and clear."
Hairston, who has never been suspended previously in his 14 big-league seasons, does not know yet when his appeal with Garagiola will be heard.
Hickox did not respond to a pregame request to speak with a pool reporter.