Umpire Fieldin Culbreth, the crew chief in Thursday night's game between the Angels and Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, has received a two-game suspension and a fine for the misapplication of Rule 3.05(b) in the top of the seventh inning, Major League Baseball announced Friday afternoon. The other members of Culbreth's crew -- Brian O'Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson -- received fines stemming from the same sequence of events. Culbreth's two-game suspension will be served at a date to be determined by the Office of the Commissioner. The Angels were playing the game under protest before rallying for three runs in the eighth inning to win, 6-5. Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued with the umpires that Astros manager Bo Porter made an illegal pitching change in the seventh inning. With runners at first and third and two outs, Porter brought in lefty Wesley Wright to face left-handed hitter J.B. Shuck. Before Wright threw a pitch, Porter subbed in the right-handed Hector Ambriz after he saw right-hander Luis Jimenez on deck to pinch-hit. Rule 3.05 (b) says that a pitcher must face at least one hitter before he can come out of the game, unless he's injured. Wright wasn't injured, and Scioscia argued at length with the umpires before notifying them he was playing the game under protest. "My contention was that the pitcher who came in had to face one batter," Scioscia said Thursday. "That's why I protested it, and we're happy we won." Porter said following the game that he'd been in a meeting last year with Nationals manager Davey Johnson that laid out the rule. Porter was Washington's third-base coach at the time. "If you have to pinch-hit for that batter, you now have the right to bring in another pitcher," Porter said. "Technically, Wesley came in to pitch to the batter that was scheduled to hit [Shuck]. But [Jimenez] pinch-hit for the batter that was scheduled to hit, which, from my understanding of the rule, you can bring in another pitcher to face the pinch-hitter."
Umpiring crew disciplined for Thursday's rule mishap
MLB.com | May 10