Francona ejected, suspension coming?

May, 6, 2011
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona was ejected in the second inning of Friday night's game against the Minnesota Twins by plate umpire Angel Hernandez, getting a quick thumb after arguing a balk call on Tim Wakefield by Hernandez that negated an inning-ending pickoff and handed the Twins their third run of the inning.

It was Francona’s second ejection of the season, and it’s possible this one could come with a suspension because Francona, in trying to get back in Hernandez’ face, made contact with crew chief Joe West, who had come in from third base to get between the irate skipper and the plate umpire. It wasn’t totally clear who initiated the contact, though.

When Francona finally left the field after West made sure he couldn’t get closer to Hernandez, Francona took whatever he was chewing and flung it from close range in the direction of Hernandez.

According to the umpiring supervisor at Fenway Park, you cannot argue a "step-balk." It's an automatic ejection. It's the same as arguing balls and strikes -- automatic ejection. There are other balks, such as not stopping your delivery when you're in the stretch, but this is a "step-balk" -- Wakefield did not step far enough toward third base before turning and throwing to second base.

The fireworks started with the Twins already ahead, 3-0. Minnesota had runners at first and third with two outs. Wakefield faked a throw to third and then wheeled and fired to first, catching Denard Span way off the base.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez threw to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who slapped a tag on Span before Ben Revere could score from third.

But as the rundown was taking place, Hernandez already was coming out from behind the plate, signaling a balk because Wakefield hadn’t stepped far enough in the direction of third base. Hernandez awarded Revere home for a run that made it 4-0, and gave Span second base.

Francona emerged and his discussion with Hernandez didn’t last long before Francona got the boot, enraging the manager further.

Francona also was tossed on April 19 this season. He has been ejected 31 times in his managerial career.



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