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Kendall: MLB 'has turned into a badminton league'

TORONTO -- Oakland Athletics catcher Jason Kendall ripped Major League Baseball after dropping his appeal of his four-game suspension on Tuesday.

Kendall was suspended and fined for charging Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey in a game on May 2.

"Major League Baseball has turned into a badminton league. They
told me I didn't have any shot of getting my suspension knocked
out," Kendall said.

Kendall said his agent, general manager Billy Beane and the
players union told him he probably wouldn't have his suspension
reduced.

"The fact that they won't knock anything off is embarrassing to
the game because the game has changed. Now you can't really defend
yourself. I understand I have to be suspended, but it's not like I
went out and picked a fight. Nothing would have happened if he
wouldn't have said anything to me, if he wouldn't have taken three
steps hard at me," Kendall said.

Lackey threw a pitch to Kendall that started out high and
inside, then sharply broke back toward the plate in the sixth
inning of Oakland's 10-3 win. Kendall backed out of the batter's
box, then suddenly charged the mound after Lackey said something
about his elbow pad.

Kendall charged the mound and wrestled Lackey to the ground,
emptying both dugouts and bullpens.

"I get called out by Lackey. He calls me out and disrespects me
and I'm supposed to sit here and have him yell at me? So basically
what Major League Baseball is saying is that any big league pitcher
out there can yell at somebody and get fined $2,000. That's what
the fine was," Kendall said.

MLB's latest disciplinary action against Kendall comes after he
received a four-game suspension in August 2004 while with
Pittsburgh for a similar scuffle when he charged the mound in a
game against Colorado after being hit by now-teammate Joe Kennedy.
The pitcher received a five-game suspension for the incident.

"I think the big thing was this was my fourth time, and all
four of the fights I've been into has been about sticking up for
myself or sticking up for my pitcher. I guess they don't look at
that," Kendall said. "People that are making decisions have never
been in a situation like that. They wait for situations like this
to happen so they can have this big power. And that's what they
did. They have the power right now."

The 31-year-old Kendall, who played 150 games last year in his
first season with the A's, entered Friday's game batting .244 with
no home runs and seven RBI.

With Kendall dropping the appeal, Oakland was able to call up catcher Jeremy Brown from Triple-A Sacramento without having to drop somebody from its 40-man roster. Oakland manager Ken Macha said Brown wasn't likely to play. Milton Bradley is expected to take Brown's place on the 25-man roster once he's activated from the DL this week.