Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Umpire mistake nets suspension

ST. PETERSBURG — After working a relatively smooth Rays-Padres game Friday, Fieldin Culbreth took "all the responsibility" for the latest umpire controversy.

Culbreth said simply he and his crew "got confused" during Thursday's Angels-Astros game and allowed Houston manager Bo Porter to improperly change relief pitchers.

"We just got to cross-sectioning different rules within the changing of a pitcher and just had a hard time getting back on track from that," Culbreth told a pool reporter. "At that point we thought we were doing right. We now know that we were doing wrong."

Culbreth was suspended two games (to be served later), and he and crew Brian O'Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson were fined unspecified amounts.

"I look at it that baseball has high standards for their umpires, and I have high standards for myself, and I didn't meet those standards (Thursday), so I am absolutely okay with everything," he said.

The controversy arose in the seventh, with the Astros up 5-3, when Wesley Wright came from the bullpen and threw several warmup pitches. Porter ran in to stop him because the Angels had a pinch-hitter ready and he brought in another reliever, Hector Ambriz.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued that under Rule 3.05(b) Wright was required to pitch to at least one batter, but crew chief Culbreth allowed Ambriz to stay. Scioscia protested the game, but the Angels rallied to win 6-5.

Porter said he spoke to Culbreth afterward when he realized he was wrong and on Friday made a public apology for causing the problem.

Culbreth said it was still his responsibility: "I look at it that the players and the managers, they go out and play the game, and it is our job, whether they are knowingly or unknowingly getting outside the boundaries, to get them back in, and I fell short of keeping them inside those lines."

On Wednesday, Angel Hernandez and his crew failed to reverse a call after seeing video that looked to anyone else, a clear home run. Tom Hallion was fined for an incident with the Rays' David Price.

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