Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson has been suspended three games and fined by Major League Baseball for contacting umpire Nick Marley after being ejected during the seventh inning Friday night’s loss to the Oakland A’s..
MLB reviewed the incident on Saturday. Anderson appealed the suspension and entered the starting lineup Saturday for Game 2 of the series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Video footage shows that Anderson’s helmet clearly made contact with Marley’s cap when the shortstop hit the umpire in the face. Marley even pointed to his cap to warn Anderson of the foul, which is a surefire way to earn a suspension.
Anderson was a repeat offender, which affected discipline.
Sox manager Tony La Russa seemed to think Anderson had a strong case.
“It will be interesting to see how they handle it,” La Russa said Saturday. “I watched part of the video and there is an argument that can be made in favor of Tim. So let’s see.”
So what’s the argument? Anderson’s helmet didn’t touch Marley?
“Did you see the interaction happen?” La Russa answered.
Yes, I saw it.
“Well, the way I see it, the way we see it, there’s an argument that the judge didn’t step back,” he said. “He was also moving forward.”
The Twitter video of the incident didn’t show Marley moving forward when Anderson got in his face and made contact, so it’s hard to know which video La Russa viewed convinced him otherwise.
Anderson did not speak after the game, letting the media know he would be out on Saturday. Before Saturday’s game, Anderson sent a message through media relations that he was unavailable.
La Russa said Friday that he was “disappointed” that the Marlies quickly ejected Anderson for the borderline strikeout argument.
“I don’t think Tim cursed him or anything,” he said. “If you don’t allow the player to be emotional, then you just end up with a bunch of robots playing. It’s not entertaining. In that fight, I thought the submission was questionable. (Anderson) got upset. I think you have to let the players spark as long as they don’t cross the line and that thing escalated before Tim did anything.”
La Russa acknowledged that judges “are human too, and they get upset.”
“But part of their training is that you have to let the players be emotional as long as they’re not disrespectful or vulgar,” he said.
La Russa, who eventually came out to protect Anderson after the damage was done, was also ejected.
The Sox cannot afford to lose Anderson for any length of time as they continue their long-standing quest to get back over .500 and challenge the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central race.
They had been without Luis Robert since just before the All-Star break when the center fielder began suffering from what the team called dizziness and blurred vision. After a one-game rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte, Robert sat out with what the team called a cold.
La Russa said Saturday that Robert is flying to Chicago for tests. The Sox announced that he will miss Saturday and Sunday’s games with Charlotte while he is “under the weather.” As such, his return to action remains as much a mystery as the illness itself.