Major League Baseball on Friday suspended the crew chief and fined all four umpires involved in a bizarre incident during Thursday's game between the Angels and Houston Astros.
The discipline all resulted from what an MLB statement called "a misapplication" of a rule -- that is, the umpires not knowing the rules.
Crew chief Fieldin Culbreth was suspended two games. Culbreth and the other three umpires on the crew all were fined an undisclosed amount.
The announcement appeared to reflect MLB's concern about umpire accountability. When umpire Tom Hallion was fined last week -- over an incident with Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price -- the fine was not announced.
None of the four umpires corrected Houston Manager Bo Porter, who claimed he could replace one new relief pitcher with another when the Angels used a pinch-hitter. Baseball rules require a relief pitcher to face at least one batter, barring injury or illness.
Porter coached for the Washington Nationals last season. He said after the game that he was "fortunate enough last year to sit in" with Nationals Manager Davey Johnson for the discussion of the alleged rule change that would have permitted Porter's move.
"He didn't learn that from me," Johnson told reporters in Washington on Friday.
Porter told reporters in Houston Friday that he had made an honest mistake and had apologized to Culbreth and the rest of the umpiring crew. Angels Manager Mike Scioscia went ballistic on the field Thursday, calling the umpiring decision "an embarrassment" in television replays.
Scioscia said the interpretation of the rule -- by Porter and by all four umpires -- was incorrect.
"Mike Scioscia was right," Porter said Friday.
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