Miller, Torre make their Stanton cases Benitez-like penalty sought by O's manager

June 17, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Justice was delayed yesterday in the eyes of Orioles manager Ray Miller. Today he should learn whether it also will be denied.

With Miller lobbying for an eight-game suspension, American League president Gene Budig is expected to rule today whether New York Yankees reliever Mike Stanton will be further disciplined following Monday's ejection for hitting Orioles right fielder Eric Davis one pitch after surrendering a seventh-inning home run.

Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone offered that "it appeared that it was intentional" given recent history.

On May 19 Armando Benitez drilled Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez between the numbers the first pitch after yielding a home run and drew an eight-game suspension and $2,000 fine from the league office.

"Knowing how he [Stanton] can pitch and knowing his ability to throw strikes and knowing the circumstance everything seems to indicate it very well could have been [intentional]," Malone said.

While Miller pushes for a suspension, Yankees manager Joe Torre took issue with plate umpire John Hirschbeck's ejection of Stanton.

Torre argued that Stanton did not intentionally throw at Davis and, since Hirschbeck had not issued a warning prior to the incident, did not deserve to be ejected.

Torre took further exception with Hirschbeck's explanation that he will thumb any pitcher who hits a batter on the first pitch following a home run. Torre called that "a little overreaction" and said he has no intention of apologizing to Miller for an incident he believes accidental.

"This is different [from the Benitez incident, for which Miller apologized to Torre]. This seemed different, and I can't explain it. It's just what you see," Torre said. "It looked like Benitez, when he did it he wanted to hurt somebody. Yesterday was pitching in."

Hirschbeck said he disregarded the May 19 incident when ejecting Stanton, adding, "When a guy hits a home run and the very next pitch he drills him in the back, I'm running that pitcher. Every time. No exceptions."

Calling the policy wrong, Torre said he intended to speak with Hirschbeck about the policy before last night's game.

"Throw the first pitch away then hit him with the next pitch. Now what. Now we've got another mandate," Torre said. "It's not easy for the umpire to make the decision. That's why feel is involved in this thing. It's a very tough call."

Budig, who ruled on the Benitez incident the next day, delayed this ruling because he needed to travel from Nebraska to New York where he would review Hirschbeck's report and possibly speak with Torre and general manager Brian Cashman.

Unlike New York, the incident stopped with the pitch. Stanton offered no gesture to the Orioles bench and no one emerged from the first base dugout.

Miller insisted the Orioles' failure to leave the dugout should not mitigate against a stiff action.

"I think we used some common sense on both sides. And I don't think the situation is any different. The pitcher was thrown out immediately. We didn't charge the field. and create a fight, but I don't think that takes away from anything. If you're suspended for intentionally hitting someone, then you should be suspended for intentionally hitting someone, whether there's a fight or not," Miller said.

Torre disagreed. "For a thing that was supposed to be the same as a month ago, nobody ran out of their dugout," he said.

Davis reiterated a willingness to let the matter pass. Asked his opinion about Budig's delayed ruling, he said yesterday afternoon, "If he has to take more time, so be it. It won't affect me one way or the other. If it takes two months, it won't affect me. I've got to move on. What am I going to do? There's nothing I can do."

Miller remains irked over the Benitez suspension and reminds that his pitcher never acknowledged hitting Martinez on purpose.

Meanwhile, several Orioles seemed unsure of Stanton's intent while privately acknowledging Benitez appeared determined to hit Martinez in New York.

Torre insisted "we have nothing against Eric Davis" and emphasized his first-place club has far more to lose because of a suspension or possible injury during a brawl.

"We're the only ones who have anything to lose in this thing. If you wind up losing a pitcher in our situation, what's the reason? We spent the whole time in that series in New York saying we had nothing against the Orioles. It makes you feel like a fool if you're saying that and all of a sudden you retaliate," Torre said.

Pub Date: 6/17/98

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