Joe Niekro’s Suspension Is Upheld by AL President Brown After Hearing

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Associated Press

Bobby Brown, president of the American League, has upheld the 10-day suspension of Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Joe Niekro, who was caught with an emery board and sandpaper in his pocket in a game earlier this week.

Brown heard an appeal of the suspension Saturday on conference telephone call from his New York office with Niekro, Twins’ Manager Tom Kelly and Minnesota Executive Vice President Andy MacPhail.

“After considering all of the items presented by Joe Niekro and the Minnesota Twins, the suspension has been upheld and will commence today,” Brown said in a prepared statement.


Niekro, 42, was suspended last Wednesday, two days after he was ejected from a game against the Angels.

Niekro, the first player to be suspended for doctoring baseballs since Gaylord Perry in 1982, was caught with the nail file and sandpaper after umpires already had collected several baseballs that appeared to have been scuffed. The knuckleballing pitcher said he used the items to manicure his fingernails during a game.

The suspension will continue through Aug. 17. The Twins have nine games during the suspension, but because Niekro is a pitcher, he will miss only one scheduled start.

Because the suspension is without pay, Niekro, who is reportedly earning $775,000 this season, stands to lose $4,794 a game--or $43,056.