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MLB suspends umpire 1 game for grabbing player jersey

Major League Baseball suspended umpire Joe West for one game without pay on Wednesday for grabbing the jersey of Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

“Joe West handled himself appropriately in ejecting Papelbon after the player’s lewd gesture to the fans,” MLB executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre said in a statement. “I fully understand that Joe was reacting to a player who was acting aggressively, and can understand his frustration with the situation.

“However, Joe knows that an umpire cannot initiate physical contact with a player just as a player cannot initiate physical contact with an umpire. I spoke to Joe about the incident, and he admitted that there was a better way to handle the situation. I consider this matter closed.”

West will serve the suspension Wednesday night instead of working his assigned game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Papelbon was suspended by the league for seven games and fined an undisclosed amount on Monday for making the lewd gesture toward fans in Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

Papelbon, 33, allowed four earned runs in the ninth inning as the Marlins came from behind to beat the Phillies 5-4. As Papelbon walked off the field to a chorus of boos, he grabbed his crotch and gestured to the hometown fans.

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