Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't expect suspensions after Friday's ejections

Elliot Johnson offers a vow of silence by taping up his mouth a night after he and three other Rays were ejected. Johnson and David Price both were tossed for yelling from the bench.

Associated Press

Elliot Johnson offers a vow of silence by taping up his mouth a night after he and three other Rays were ejected. Johnson and David Price both were tossed for yelling from the bench.

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Joe Maddon said he doesn't expect any suspensions to stem from Friday night's game, when four Rays, including himself, were ejected.

"I don't understand why (there'd be suspensions)," Maddon said. "It just seems to be trending to the point where if you get thrown out of the game, people expect to be suspended or the conversation goes there. It was an argument, there was no physical bumping or grinding among manager and umpire."

LHP J.P. Howell threw his glove down in frustration after Colby Rasmus' three-run homer in the eighth then angrily threw a ball away before getting ejected. He expects to be fined but not suspended, saying he didn't make physical contact with home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza.

"I didn't touch him," Howell said. "If I touched him, I should get suspended. But I didn't."

LHP David Price and INF Elliot Johnson were also ejected from the dugout, which Maddon said he didn't understand. Maddon said both players might have waved their arms and yelled, but they weren't swearing.

"To start randomly throwing people out of the game in the dugout when they're not even on the field, I don't understand that at all," Maddon said. "That can just really incite a situation as opposed to diffuse it."

The umpiring crew was greeted with boos when they came onto the field before Saturday's game.

SUPER SAM: LF Sam Fuld became a household name on ESPN's "Web Gems" for all his memorable defensive plays in the first half of the season. And during ESPN's broadcast of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby, Fuld will serve as a guest commentator, glove in hand.

"It'll be fun," Fuld said.

Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said the network contacted them about three weeks ago, saying with the star power Fuld accumulated through his special start to the season, he'd be a good person for fans to get to know better. Fuld will have his glove as the crew's "protector" of sorts but will also provide analysis.

Fuld, who has four career homers, doesn't know what to expect.

"I'm definitely no expert on it," Fuld said of home runs. "But I'm good at watching them. I've seen a few in my day."

Fuld has been to one All-Star Home Run Derby, in 1999 at Fenway Park in Boston. He said he and his wife, Sarah, will fly to Phoenix after the Rays series in New York, and he may even attend the All-Star Game.

"It's going to be a good experience," he said.

IN COMMAND: RHP Jeremy Hellickson enters tonight's start on a career-worst four game losing streak, though he hasn't exactly pitched poorly. The Rays have scored one run for him in that span.

But Maddon said one thing Hellickson needs to improve is his fastball command, as it's "not as sharp as we would expect it." But that also means sticking with it, giving more balance with his offspeed pitches.

"Sometimes guys like that will start throwing the offspeed pitches too often, and I think that's when they expose it too often early, then the hitters get more used to it and it becomes (less) effective," Maddon said.

OLD-SCHOOL: The 1951 Tampa Smokers uniforms the Rays wore as part of the "Turn Back the Clock" game looked a little different from those that some might remember.

The old uniforms of the Smokers, a minor-league team, had a lit cigar stitched into the logo's underscore, but the version the Rays wore didn't.

The team explained its reasoning in a statement: "We have chosen to wear the Smokers jersey to celebrate the rich heritage and traditions surrounding baseball in Tampa Bay and this version of the logo is intended only to be a slightly more contemporary version of that wonderful history."

MISCELLANY: The Rays will honor two visually impaired veterans before today's game, Marine Cpl. Michael Jernigan and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Kallal. … The Rays granted RHP Chris Bootcheck his release from Triple-A Durham after he exercised the out clause in his contract. … Friday's broadcast auction raised $52,510 for the Rays Baseball Foundation.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't expect suspensions after Friday's ejections 07/02/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 3, 2011 12:02am]

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