Mike Scioscia calls disputed call involving Hideki Matsui ‘mind-boggling’

Mike Scioscia said he had never seen anything like it.

No, the Angels manager wasn’t talking about Howie Kendrick’s ninth-inning walk-off bunt Wednesday at Angel Stadium, something of a novelty in itself. He was referring to a second-inning called strike on a pitch by Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook that bounced and nearly hit Hideki Matsui.

Matsui nearly fell down trying to get out of the way of the pitch, and replays appeared to show his bat crossing the plate. Home plate umpire Joe West asked for help from third-base counterpart Rob Drake, who ruled that Matsui had swung at the pitch.

“He’s jumping out of the way of it trying to get his balance and that was somehow construed as a swing,” Scioscia said. " … That call was mind-boggling.”

Scioscia had a brief exchange with Drake, who mimicked a swing with his arm and ejected the manager while he was on the top step of the dugout.

“He can’t argue balls and strikes,” West, the crew chief, said of Scioscia. “He can’t even question it. He defied the third-base umpire’s authority to say, ‘That’s it.’ [Drake] said, ‘Hold it right there,’ and [Scioscia] kept coming and he got ejected. He knows better than that.”

It was the 25th ejection of Scioscia’s career.

“If they want to throw me out of the game, I’m not arguing that,” Scioscia said. “But the point was, that wasn’t even close to a swing and when I think there’s an interpretation like that by an umpire that’s that outrageous, you’re going to hear it.”

More controversy

The umpires again took center stage in the sixth inning when Lou Marson’s drive to right-center field landed near the top of the fence and was ruled a double, prompting a protest by Cleveland Manager Manny Acta.

The umpires retreated beneath the stadium to watch replays. After a three-minute review, they upheld second-base umpire Paul Schrieber’s call.

“It had to land over the ledge; it didn’t,” West said. “It hit the top edge of the fence and came back in. Paul got it right the first time.”

No rest for Napoli

The plan was for catcher Mike Napoli to get the day off after starting seven of eight games since Jeff Mathis broke his right wrist April 19.

But when Scioscia pinch-hit for Ryan Budde in the eighth inning, he had to use Napoli behind the plate in the top of the ninth because injuries to Mathis and Bobby Wilson have severely curtailed the Angels’ catching depth.

Napoli, who hit 20 homers in each of the last two seasons, is still seeking his first extra-base hit in 2010. He’s also hitting only .154, though Scioscia said Napoli’s “at bats are much better than his stats have shown. He hasn’t driven the ball like he can, but he’s made some hard outs.”

Short hops

Ervin Santana’s eight strikeouts give him 715 for his career, moving him past Kirk McCaskill (714) and into 10th place on the Angels’ all-time list.… Mathis’ wrist was fitted with a hard cast that will remain in place for 19 more days before he is able to resume exercises. Mathis said the swelling had subsided and he could move his fingers “quite a bit.” … Scioscia said he was targeting one of the games in the Angels’ series against Boston on May 3-5 as the next opportunity for Matsui to play in the outfield.

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