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Selig slaps Wells with additional $5,000 fine for critical words after suspension

SAN DIEGO -- David Wells is in trouble again, and this time
the punishment is coming straight from commissioner Bud Selig.

The San Diego Padres left-hander has been fined $5,000 for
comments he made last month, after he was suspended seven games and
fined $3,000 for his animated argument with an umpire who ejected
him on July 7.

Wells said he'll appeal the new fine, just as he's appealing the
original punishment.

"What happened to our First Amendment, freedom of speech?"
Wells said before the Padres played Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants.

Wells taped the two-page letter from Selig to the wall near his
locker.

He also wondered why Selig, who's in town to witness Bonds'
quest to break Hank Aaron's career home run record, couldn't drop
by for a chat.

"I just think it's stupid," Wells said. "What Bud Selig has
now sent me, I think, is absolutely crazy. He's here in town. I
wish he would come down and talk to me about this. But obviously
he's way too busy for me. He ain't busy. He's got five minutes out
of his time, 10 minutes. He's not the president. He kind of acts
like it, though."

Selig was displeased with several comments Wells made to
reporters on July 12, and with the fact that the big left-hander
taped a letter from baseball discipline czar Bob Watson to the
clubhouse wall for reporters and teammates to read.

Wells criticized Watson and said the game is changing so much
that "pretty soon we'll all put skirts on and we're all going to
play softball."

Another comment that bugged the commissioner was when Wells
called Watson "a henchman and a yes man for Bud Selig."

"It is highly inappropriate to impugn the honesty, integrity
and impartiality of the Office of the Commissioner and the umpires
to the media under any circumstance," Selig wrote. "Such actions
are inflammatory and strike at the heart of the public confidence
in the game of baseball.

"I expect that you will refrain from making such derogatory
comments about the Office of the Commissioner and its umpires in
the future. In the event you engage in such misconduct again, the
discipline will be much more severe."

In handing down the original punishment, Watson cited Wells'
"violent and aggressive actions," including throwing a baseball
at the backstop as he left the field. Wells was ejected by umpire
Ed Hickox for questioning calls in the fourth inning of an 8-5 win
over Atlanta after Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run homer.

"Obviously something so small, not a whole lot said, is a major
ordeal in the game of baseball," Wells said of his original
criticism. "I think it's a one-side affair. We don't have a chance
to plead our cases or anything like that. Especially when I got
thrown out of a game when I shouldn't have gotten thrown out. I
never said anything derogatory to the umpire. He cussed at me. It's
no big deal. I've cussed at an umpire before, but I didn't take it
personal."

Wells continues to maintain that Watson "has it out for me. No
question about it. That's my opinion. I'm entitled to my opinion,
and if it's going to cost me another $1,000, I'm not coming off my
word. I didn't say anything bad at all."

Wells' appeal probably will be heard when the Padres visit New
York later this month to play the Mets.

"I wish it would be sooner than later," Wells said. "Since
he's here, let's have the hearing here. He's making $14 million a
year. He can fly his crew in and do it right here. If he wants, we
can do it at my house."