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Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton suspended two games, fined $1,500 for outburst vs. Blue Jays

Third-base coach Tom Foley gets between an enraged B.J. Upton and umpire Chad Fairchild during Wednesday’s game.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Third-base coach Tom Foley gets between an enraged B.J. Upton and umpire Chad Fairchild during Wednesday’s game.

BALTIMORE — Rays CF B.J. Upton was suspended two games by Major League Baseball and fined $1,500 for his outburst in Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays.

Upton said he plans to appeal the suspension, which was announced by the league Saturday, but likely will begin serving it when the Rays play at Cleveland on Tuesday.

After being called out on strikes in the ninth inning of the Rays' 3-2 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, Upton was ejected and had a tirade aimed at home plate umpire Chad Fairchild, tossing his helmet and batting gloves and having to be restrained by third-base coach Tom Foley and bench coach Dave Martinez.

If upheld, the suspension will be the first of Upton's career.

"They look at it the way they want to look at it," Upton said. "Once it's over, it's out of my hands. They felt the fine and a couple days' suspension. There's nothing I can do about it."

By appealing the suspension, Upton will be able to finish the three-game series in Baltimore, where he entered Saturday's game with a lifetime .281 batting average at Camden Yards as opposed to .180 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland. That proved to be the right move when Upton went 3-for-5 on Saturday, including a three-run homer and two doubles, in an 8-2 win over the Orioles.

"I don't plan on taking (the two-game suspension) here," Upton said. "Probably in Cleveland. … I like hitting in this park, I guess."

If Upton returns from his suspension Thursday in Cleveland, it could bode well for him. He has a .385 average against Indians starter Justin Masterson.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he had no problem with Upton's decision to finish the series in Baltimore.

"He's had a lot of success here, and that was his call," Maddon said. "I don't want to argue with that. Two games here, two games there. Who knows when the right two games are to take."

Sonnanstine TO START: RHP Andy Sonnanstine will start Tuesday against the Indians in place of RHP Jeff Niemann, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

Sonnanstine has appeared in only four games this season and is 0-0 with a 2.89 ERA. He pitched three scoreless innings against Toronto last week. Although relegated to long relief, Sonnanstine has started 76 games in his career.

"It's not easy to do, but he does it," Maddon said. "He stays ready. He knows things like this could happen. He doesn't like not playing. He does not like not pitching … but he gets it.

"So now all of a sudden, his role and his time comes, and I know he'll be ready, and I know he won't be afraid and I know he's been there before."

EXTRA BASES: RHP Jeremy Hellickson and four relievers combined to walk 10 batters Saturday. It's the most walks issued by Rays pitchers in a victory since April 26, 2006, at New York when they walked 14 in 10 innings. … Entering Saturday's game, Hellickson had received 9.19 runs per game, the highest run support in the American League. … Rays and Orioles players will swing pink bats and wear pink ribbons and batting gloves today as part of Major League Baseball's tradition on Mother's Day to raise breast cancer awareness.

Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton suspended two games, fined $1,500 for outburst vs. Blue Jays 05/07/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:50pm]
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