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Rays' Loney awaiting punishment for umpire confrontation

Rays first baseman James Loney gets face-to-face with home plate umpire Paul Nauert on Saturday night after being ejected. Loney insists any contact was incidental.
Rays first baseman James Loney gets face-to-face with home plate umpire Paul Nauert on Saturday night after being ejected. Loney insists any contact was incidental.
Published Aug. 24, 2015

OAKLAND, Calif. — 1B James Loney said Sunday he had no regrets over what he did to get ejected from Saturday's game or what he said about umpire Paul Nauert afterward, though he did maintain the contact he made was incidental.

Now the Rays will wait to see if, and for how long, Loney gets suspended for his actions.

"I don't know (what will happen)," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We'll probably just have to wait and see what Major League Baseball decides and go from there."

Loney was ejected, rather quickly, for flipping his bat and helmet to the ground after disagreeing with a strike three call to end the sixth. Loney then had an animated and demonstrative reaction, going face-to-face with Nauert and bumping him with his chest before Cash stepped in and coaches Rocco Baldelli and Charlie Montoyo restrained him.

After the game, Loney said, among other things, that Nauert's "personality is not the best" and called him, well, we'll use "jerk" in place of what he actually said.

The contact with Nauert, who will file a report to MLB that is likely to be reviewed as soon as today, would seem the primary issue, leading to what based on precedent would likely be a one- or maybe two-game ban.

Loney said it was more that they "touched" than bumped, and "obviously I'm not trying to bump him," calling it "incidental contact." Plus, he said "the good thing" if he does get fined is that the money goes to charity.

Cash said, "We all know the rules. We can't have contact in any capacity. Whether it was or it was not, that's something we know not to do."

Loney remained adamant Sunday that Nauert was to blame.

"I didn't do anything: You did it, you threw me out of the game. Why can't I get mad?" he said. "I didn't do anything to get thrown out of the game — you can write that — I didn't do anything. If anything, he's the one that should feel bad about throwing me out. I could see if I did something that warranted getting thrown out of the game, that's different.

"But I'm not going to feel bad for saying anything when you threw me out of a crucial game. I should be able to say whatever I want, really. That's how I feel, that's what I think."

TOUGH DAY: Loney was also dropped from the cleanup spot, replaced by John Jaso in a move Cash said may "get him seeing some pitches he hasn't been seeing and get him going again." To which Loney said, "Well, I'm hitting .280 in my last 30 games, so I don't know." (Actually, it's .243.) Then Loney — hitless in his first two at-bats with an error and no play on a run-scoring single — was pinch-hit for against LHP Sean Doolittle by Desmond Jennings in the seventh.

LINING UP: Jennings was otherwise off, a move to give him extra rest with the Rays having no game today as he just returned from the DL after knee surgery. CF Kevin Kiermaier also was not in the lineup but came in in the seventh. He has been playing with pain and getting daily treatment on the right thumb he bruised Aug. 8, and he said it likely won't get better until the season is over.

MATT WITH A K: LHP Matt Moore had a dazzling outing Saturday in his fourth start since being demoted to Durham, striking out a Bulls Triple-A record 16 in six innings. Cash said there were no set plans yet for Moore's return, but "we're thrilled with where he's at," praising him not just based on statistical results but because "he's also done a nice job of commanding the baseball and being efficient."

MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria was 0-for-12 in the three games vs. the A's, dropping his career average in Oakland to .172 (16-for-93). … Expect the Rays to at least check into the availability of former closer Fernando Rodney, who was designated for assignment Saturday by Seattle, but his 5.68 ERA and six blown saves (in 22 chances) are concerns. … The Rays were seeking their first series sweep in Oakland in 24 visits over 18 seasons.

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