MLB reviewing Julio's inside pitch

Mazzilli says suspension would not be warranted

Notebook

September 09, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The commissioner's office is reviewing the pitch thrown by Orioles closer Jorge Julio in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's game that led to his ejection and incited the Minnesota Twins' bench.

Bob Watson, who's in charge of discipline for Major League Baseball, is trying to obtain the umpires' report and video from the ninth inning, when Julio's 99 mph fastball sailed toward infielder Augie Ojeda's head -- one pitch after the Minnesota Twins' Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer to break a 1-1 tie. Watson also may contact the individuals who were involved.

A ruling could be made within the next few days, though no timetable has been set.

"It's pretty standard procedure," said MLB spokesman Matthew Gould. "They did indicate that they've moved forward with the investigation. And given the time of year, they will proceed as quickly as possible without compromising the integrity of the investigation."

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said he doesn't believe a suspension would be warranted and disagreed with plate umpire Ron Kulpa's decision to eject Julio. He noted how New York Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez wasn't thrown out Sunday after hitting Rafael Palmeiro.

"I don't think you can suspend someone for [people] thinking you threw at someone," Mazzilli said.

Ojeda had to be restrained by Twins first base coach Jerry White, and Kulpa threw out Julio immediately without issuing a warning.

Julio said afterward that he didn't mean to hit Ojeda, and only was trying to come inside with a two-seam fastball. Mazzilli waited until after meeting with reporters yesterday to view a tape of the pitch.

"I don't feel it was intentional at all," Mazzilli said. "I just think his frustration got to him and he let it go. But you don't want to see anyone get hurt."

Mazzilli phoned Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, his former teammate with the New York Mets, after the game as a gesture of goodwill. Julio apologized to Mazzilli for forcing him to bring in another pitcher.

"Hopefully, it's over with," Mazzilli said.

Riley staying in bullpen

Mazzilli still has no immediate plans to put Matt Riley into the rotation, choosing bullpen duty for the left-hander after he held the Twins to one run and two hits in seven innings Tuesday night.

"It's a good start," said Riley, who returned from Triple-A Ottawa this week. "It's a start toward showing that I belong here. I've still got a ways to go. I've got to prove to my coaches and to my teammates that I belong here. One outing's not going to do that. I have to be consistent on a regular basis."

Riley said the inflammation in his shoulder subsided about three weeks ago and he noticed the difference right away. He tried pitching through it most of the season before being shut down on July 2, after the Orioles optioned him.

"My arm's finally back at 100 percent," he said. "You know when you feel like you can't throw a ball past 90 feet that you've got some problems."

Riley refers to his demotion to Ottawa for disciplinary reasons as "water under the bridge," and said he needed to regain the respect of his teammates after arriving late for his start in Philadelphia.

"I talked to Maz and they were cool," he said. "Maz said, `I want you here.' I think I still have a great future with these guys. And if not, I'll go somewhere else. But as far as now, I'm an Oriole."

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