TORONTO — Orioles first baseman Ty Wigginton began serving his suspension Monday night after Major League Baseball agreed to shorten his ban from three games to two.
"I feel it's best to get this behind me," Wigginton said. "I just want to play baseball and move on."
Wigginton was suspended for his actions in the seventh inning of the Orioles' 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday. The veteran got in the face of first base umpire Gary Darling, who ruled that Wigginton had missed a tag, allowing J.J. Hardy to get back to first safely and causing Wigginton to erupt. Darling acknowledged after the game that he missed the call.
Two days later, Bob Watson, baseball's vice president of on-field operations, announced the disciplinary measures, saying the three-game suspension and $2,500 fine were a result of Wigginton's "inappropriate actions, which included making contact" with Darling.
Wigginton immediately appealed the decision, which usually results in a hearing between the player and the league at a later date. However, Wigginton apparently agreed to bypass the hearing in exchange for the suspension being reduced by a game.
"To be totally honest with you, I just know that I got a phone call saying it could be reduced to two games and would I be willing to do that. I said, 'Yeah,' " Wigginton said. "I'm just glad to put the whole thing behind me. The sooner I could get back on the field, the better."
The adjusted two-game suspension, which wasn't finalized until about an hour before Monday night's game, left interim manager Juan Samuel with just a two-man bench ( Julio Lugo and Corey Patterson) against a team that was 9-0 against the Orioles this season. Samuel acknowledged the situation was somewhat troublesome, especially with Brian Roberts, Luke Scott and Matt Wieters all a week or less removed from returning from the disabled list.
"We have to be short a couple of guys," said Samuel, who originally had Wigginton in his lineup but played Jake Fox at first instead. "Hopefully, nothing happens, but that's what it is going to be."
Showalter not discouraged
The Orioles will continue without a permanent manager until after the nonwaiver trade deadline passes Saturday, no matter how the team fares on its current road trip.
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail reiterated Monday that he does not have a timeline for hiring someone to replace Samuel, who had managed the club to a 16-28 record entering Monday since Dave Trembley was fired June 9.
A managerial announcement will not come until at least August, MacPhail confirmed, as he concentrates on Saturday's trade deadline. Whether a change will be made in August, September, at the end of the season or at all has not been determined.
Buck Showalter, the leading candidate for the post, said he wasn't discouraged by the protracted situation and was focused on his job as a baseball analyst for ESPN. He has had several talks with MacPhail and said he remains interested in the position.
"I'm OK with the process and am respectful of what Juan is doing and with what Andy is trying to do with this organization," Showalter told The Baltimore Sun on Monday.
He would not comment on the specific nature of the talks with MacPhail or how advanced they had become.
In a season in which the Orioles have gotten little recognition for anything positive, Scott on Monday was named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending July 25.
The designated hitter batted .431 (13-for-27) during the week with four homers, eight RBIs, three doubles, six runs and a 1.037 slugging percentage. He hit safely in each of his seven games during the week and recorded five multi-hit contests.
"It has been a difficult year, but anything positive that we can have happen is welcomed and accepted with a smile," said Scott, who has won the weekly honors three times in his career, the last one June 1 of last season.
The torrid stretch came immediately after Scott was activated from the DL on July 19. He missed 14 games with a left hamstring strain and played in only three Gulf Coast League rehabilitation games before rejoining the Orioles' lineup.
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