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CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson received a three-game suspension and fine from Major League Baseball for making contact with umpire Nick Marley after his ejection during the seventh inning of Friday night’s loss to the Oakland A’s.
MLB reviewed the incident Saturday. Anderson appealed the suspension and was in the starting lineup Saturday for Game 2 of the series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Video evidence suggested Anderson’s helmet clearly touched the bill of Marley’s cap as the shortstop got into the umpire’s face. Marley even pointed to the cap to alert Anderson of the violation, which is a sure-fire way to earn a suspension.
Anderson was a repeat offender, which factored into the discipline.
Sox manager Tony La Russa seemed to believe Anderson has a strong case.
“It will be interesting to see how they handle it,” La Russa said Saturday. “I watched some of the video and there’s an argument that can be made in Tim’s favor. So we’ll see.”
So what is the argument? Didn’t Anderson’s helmet touch Marley?
“Did you see how the interaction happened?” La Russa replied.
Yes, I saw it.
“Well, the way I see it, the way we see it, there’s an argument made that the umpire didn’t move back,” he said. “He was moving forward as well.”
Video of the incident on Twitter did not show Marley moving forward when Anderson got in his face and made contact, so it’s hard to know what video La Russa watched that convinced him otherwise.
Anderson didn’t speak after the game, letting the media know he would speak Saturday. Before Saturday’s game, Anderson sent a message through the media relations department that he was unavailable.
La Russa on Friday said he was “disappointed” in Marley’s quick ejection of Anderson for arguing a borderline strike.
“I don’t think Tim cursed him or anything,” he said. “If you don’t allow a player to be emotional, then you just get a bunch of robots out here playing. That’s not entertaining. That at-bat, I thought the pitch was questionable. (Anderson) got upset. I think you need to allow players to spark as long as they don’t cross the line, and that thing escalated before Tim did anything.”
La Russa conceded umpires “are human beings, too, and they get upset.”
“But part of their training is you’ve got to let players be emotional, as long as they don’t get disrespect or vulgar,” he said.
La Russa, who eventually came out to protect Anderson after the damage was done, also was ejected.
The Sox can’t afford to lose Anderson for any significant time as they continue their long-running quest to get back over .500 and challenge the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central race.
They’ve been without Luis Robert since just before the All-Star break when the center fielder began suffering from what the team termed lightheadedness and blurry vision. After one game of a rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte, Robert sat for what the team said was a cold.
La Russa on Saturday said Robert was flying to Chicago for tests. The Sox announced he would miss Saturday’s and Sunday’s games with Charlotte while he was “under the weather.” So his return to action remains as much a mystery as the ailment itself.