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09/17/07 8:58 PM ET
Notes: Washington upset with Padilla
Manager asks pitcher to apologize after Sunday's altercation
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rangers manager Ron Washington wasn't particularly happy with pitcher Vicente Padilla after Sunday's altercation with Oakland Athletics outfielder Nick Swisher and asked him apologize to his teammates in a pregame meeting on Monday at the Metrodome. Washington said Padilla apologized for forcing five relievers from an already overworked bullpen to pitch nine innings in an 11-9 victory over the A's. "Yesterday was not a good day at all," Washington said. "The only good that came out of it is we pulled together and got a win. We ended up getting nine innings out of a bullpen that was already short." Padilla lasted just two hitters and 10 pitches. Padilla's 10th pitch hit Swisher in the ribs and the Athletic charged the mound in retaliation. No punches were landed but both players were ejected. Both are expected to be suspended by Major League Baseball, but punishment has yet to be handed down. Right now, Padilla is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday against the Twins. "I'm expecting some kind of discipline on Padilla, but until I hear about it, I don't want to speculate," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Obviously, if you look at the tape, appearances are what they are. Whether or not he was looking to do something, I'm not going to speculate. "But we were in a spot as a team where we needed more out of him. Our bullpen was beaten up and carrying a big load. What he can do we needed him to do and he didn't do that." Daniels communicated with Oakland general manager Billy Beane on Monday, telling him that Sunday's affair was an isolated incident. Daniels doesn't want this to escalate into a blood feud with the Athletics and Beane agreed with Daniels' assessment on the situation. The Rangers did not escape unscathed in the incident. Both Hank Blalock and Jarrod Saltalamacchia suffered neck injuries while trying to pull apart the combatants in the scuffle. Saltalamacchia's injury was described as whiplash. "I only thought you could get whiplash in a car accident," Washington said. Both injuries are not considered major, but neither player was in the lineup on Monday. The Rangers are already without Gerald Laird, who is day-to-day with a sore right knee, so Guillermo Quiroz made his first start on Monday. Blalock has still not been able to completely test his sore right arm and find out if he's ready to start playing defense. He may try again on Tuesday. Pitcher Joaquin Benoit twisted an ankle in the scuffle but was still able to pitch. Washington said somebody stepped on his foot. Padilla was not asked to apologize for putting his teammates in harm's way or for starting the incident by hitting Swisher. Pitching coach Mark Connor said he doesn't believe that Padilla did anything intentional. "He's trying to pitch inside," Connor said. "He was pitching in and out the whole at-bat. If what happened the night before (reliever Bill White hitting Swisher) had not happened, then it's no big deal. But the guy was hitting our offspeed stuff the whole series. Vinny wanted to pitch him hard inside and away. I think that's all there was to it." Gabbard shut down: The Rangers are shutting down pitcher Kason Gabbard for the rest of the season because of more stiffness in his left forearm. The Rangers don't think it's serious, but they don't want to push Gabbard at this point of the season. "It just doesn't make any sense at this point of the season," Daniels said. "He could probably go out there, but there is no logic in pushing him." Gabbard was supposed to pitch on Wednesday. Instead, Padilla will take his spot and Luis Mendoza will likely start on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles. Gabbard is 2-1 with a 5.58 ERA in eight starts since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 31, but he has a 9.20 ERA in his last three starts. He said the problem with the forearm has made it difficult for him to throw his sinker, an important pitch for him. "I still want to pitch and be a part of the team," Gabbard said. "But I'm not 100 percent and they don't think it's a good thing for me to go out and pitch. I just do what they tell me to do." No lefties in sight: The Rangers are beginning a stretch of possibly nine straight games against right-handed starting pitchers. Unless rotations change, the Rangers aren't expected to face another left-hander until a week from Wednesday when they are scheduled to face Joe Saunders and the Los Angeles Angels. They also may face just two left-handers the rest of the season. That doesn't bode well for Sammy Sosa, who has 90 RBIs but has been starting mainly against left-handers since Aug. 1. Washington said Sosa will still play against some right-handers and will likely be the Rangers' designated hitter on Tuesday against right-hander Carlos Silva. "I'm not going to let him sit for nine days," Washington said. "I'm going to get him out there as much as I can." He said it: "It's over with. I'm focusing on bearing down for the rest of the season." -- shortstop Michael Young on Sunday's altercation with the Athletics Briefly: Kameron Loe could throw in the bullpen on Tuesday and test his sore right elbow. Connor said the Rangers would like to get him at least one or two relief appearances before the season ends just to give him confidence that he is healthy going into the offseason. ... Second baseman Ian Kinsler was given Monday off by Washington. ... The last time a Rangers starting pitcher failed to record an out was on Sept. 3, 2002, when Aaron Myette was ejected in the first inning for hitting a batter. ... Benoit, who saved Sunday's win, also recorded a save in that game. That was a seven-inning save and is the longest in Major League history. ... The Rangers have eight grand slams and are tied with the Detroit Tigers for the most in the Major Leagues. Up next: Right-hander Kevin Millwood (9-12, 5.51 ERA) will be on the mound for the Rangers against the Twins at 7:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday at the Metrodome. Silva (11-14, 4.44) will pitch for Minnesota.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.