CHICAGO -- Both benches cleared briefly in the second inning
of Friday's game between the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs
when Cubs catcher Michael Barrett began jawing with Astros' pitcher
Roy Oswalt, five days after Oswalt hit him in the back with a
No punches were thrown as home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor
intervened and steered the angry Barrett back away from Oswalt. The
two teams rushed out of their dugouts and lingered near home plate
without incident for a minute or two.
Oswalt was ejected for hitting Barrett in Houston last Sunday
following a three-run homer by Aramis Ramirez. Two innings later,
Cubs starter Kerry Wood also was tossed for hitting Jeff Kent with
a pitch after both benches had been warned.
Barrett said after that game that he "thought he [Oswalt] was
better than that" and warned: "We're going to see him again."
With Wood on the mound Friday in another matchup with Oswalt,
Barrett and Oswalt exchanged words when the Houston pitcher came to
the plate to lead off the second with the Astros leading 4-2.
After the brief altercation, Oswalt grounded out and the two
again exchanged a few words after Barrett had run down the
first-base line to back up the throw.
In the top of the sixth, Oswalt again came up as the leadoff
hitter, with the Astros leading 8-4, and he was hit in the thigh by the
first pitch from Cubs reliever Kent Mercker. Both benches stayed
off the field this time as Bucknor warned Mercker and the two
dugouts. Astros manager Phil Garner came out to talk to Bucknor.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker said before the game that he didn't expect
any repercussions from last Sunday's incidents. But, he added: "We
didn't start it in the first place."