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Ump school leader Wendelstedt dies

Longtime umpire Harry Wendelstedt, who worked five World Series and made a call involving Don Drysdale that became one of baseball's most disputed plays in the late 1960s, died Friday. He was 73.

Mr. Wendelstedt died at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, near the umpiring school he ran for more than three decades in Ormond Beach. He had been diagnosed several years ago with a brain tumor.

Mr. Wendelstedt called seven NLCS and four All-Star games, and was behind the plate for five no-hitters. He was on the majors' umpiring staff from 1966 to 1998. His son Hunter is a big-league umpire and wears the same No. 21 his father wore.

Mr. Wendelstedt made his most notable call May 31, 1968, at Dodger Stadium. Drysdale was trying for his fifth straight shutout — and was heading toward setting a then-record of 58⅔ scoreless innings — when San Francisco loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth.

Drysdale threw a 2-and-2 pitch that struck Dick Dietz on the elbow, and the shutout streak seemed to be over. But Mr. Wendelstedt, the plate umpire, ruled that Dietz didn't try to get out of the way. Mr. Wendelstedt called the pitch a ball and told Dietz to get back in the box.

After an argument, Dietz flied out on a full-count pitch and Drysdale wound up pitching a shutout.

"Harry had a wide strike zone, he liked to see hitters swing the bat," said former longtime Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

Cardinals arms: Adam Wainwright pitched two scoreless innings in his first start in more than a year as the Cardinals beat the Twins 3-2.

Wainwright missed all of last season after elbow-ligament replacement surgery and hadn't pitched since Sept. 24, 2010.

"When they said ' … on the mound today, pitcher Adam Wainwright,' the crowd kind of applauded, I was out there cheering in the outfield for sure," said Wainwright, who walked one and struck out two.

But there was potentially troubling news: ace Chris Carpenter left a practice session with a sore neck. Manager Mike Matheny said Carpenter is day to day.

Returning Giants: Catcher Buster Posey, who tore ligaments in his left ankle last season, played his first since the May 25 injury. The former Florida State standout caught two innings and hit a flyout in his only trip to the plate. "I've put in a lot of work," he said. "Even though it was only two innings, it was nice to be out there."

Rockie's comeback: Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio gave up an unearned run and five singles over three innings against the A's in his return from a broken neck. It was his first start since Aug. 5, when Washington's Ian Desmond hit a line drive that struck the right-hander in the right temple, fracturing his skull. The fall broke his neck.

Canseco Refused Test: Former major-leaguer Jose Canseco was suspended from the Mexican league after allegedly refusing a doping test. The Quintana Roo Tigers said doping control doctors advised Canseco against taking the test because he was using a prescribed medicine to produce testosterone. He told ESPNDeportes he "can't live without it."

Padres Purchase: Padres CEO Jeff Moorad withdrew his application to finalize his purchase of the club in order to focus on getting MLB's approval for the team's new TV deal with Fox.

Ump school leader Wendelstedt dies 03/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 9, 2012 10:20pm]
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