Reliever ejected after yelling at ump

Chicago Cubs: Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins began serving a three-game suspension Friday after his appeal was rejected. His fine was reduced from $3,000 to $2,000.

After giving up a tiebreaking homer in the ninth to the
Cardinals' Albert Pujols on July 20 at Wrigley Field, Hawkins was
ejected after he started yelling at plate umpire Tim Tschida as he
walked to the dugout. The reliever had to be restrained by manager
Dusty Baker and several Cubs coaches from going at Tschida.

"Do I regret it? No," Hawkins said at the time, adding that he
and Tschida had a feud dating back two years.

In 2002 when Hawkins was with the Twins, Tschida ejected him
from a game in a disagreement over the positioning of the
reliever's chair in the bullpen.

Hawkins wasn't immediately available for comment Friday. As the
Cubs' closer, he has 17 saves in 21 chances.

The Cubs said they expected to hear within the next couple days
on the appeal of Kerry Wood's five-game suspension for an April
run-in with umpire Eric Cooper.

Wood is set to start Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wood and Hawkins had an appeal hearing this week before baseball
disciplinarian Bob Watson.

  • Also Friday, the Cubs agreed to terms
    with righthander Grant Johnson, their first pick in this year's

    Johnson was the 66th overall selection after posting a 6-0
    record and a 1.87 ERA for Notre Dame this spring, helping the
    Fighting Irish to their third straight Big East championship.

    In three seasons at Notre Dame, Johnson registered a 15-5 record
    in 32 appearances, striking out 137 in 159 innings.

  • The Cubs also acquired left-hander Eric Eckenstahler from the Detroit Tigers, completing a trade the teams made in late April.

    In the earlier deal, the Cubs sent left-hander Felix Sanchez to
    the Tigers for left-hander Jon Connolly and a player to be named,
    who turned out to be Eckenstahler.

    Eckenstahler had made 42 relief appearances this season for
    Triple-A Toledo.

    Seattle Seahawks: Former closer Kazuhiro Sasaki has backed off plans to retire and will continue to pitch for the Yokohama BayStars, at least until the end of the season.

    Dejected over a recent string of blown save opportunities,
    Sasaki told Yokohama officials Wednesday he wanted to quit

    But the 36-year-old right-hander confirmed on his official Web site Friday that he will remain with the club and finish out the

    Sasaki, who spent four seasons with the Mariners, has a 1-2
    record with 19 saves this season but was dropped from the squad for
    a two-game series with the Hanshin Tigers in Sapporo after giving
    up three consecutive homers Sunday night to allow the Yakult
    Swallows to rally for a 3-2 victory.

    Sasaki decided to leave the Mariners in January in order to
    return to Japan to be closer to his family. He walked away from
    $9.5 million by not returning to the Mariners for the final year of
    his contract.

    He was the Mariners' career saves leader and was the American League's rookie of the year in 2000, when he had 37 saves.

    He was named to the AL All-Star team in 2001, when he set a
    Mariners record with 45 saves. His 129 saves over the last four
    seasons are a Mariners team record.

    Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies optioned right-hander Paul Abbott to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre after he cleared waivers.

    Abbott was designated for assignment Monday to make room on the
    roster for right-hander Cory Lidle, who was acquired from
    Cincinnati and moved into Philadelphia's starting rotation.

    He was 1-6 with a 6.24 ERA in 10 starts for Philadelphia after
    being released by Tampa Bay earlier this season. Abbott went 2-5
    with a 6.70 ERA in nine starts for the Diamondbacks.

    Abbott has a 43-37 record in parts of 11 major league seasons
    with Minnesota, Cleveland, Seattle, Kansas City, Tampa Bay and

    Tampa Bay Devil Rays: The Devil Rays released first
    baseman Robert Fick and optioned right-hander Jeremi Gonzalez to
    Triple-A Durham on Friday.

    Tampa Bay also called up second baseman Jorge Cantu and
    right-hander Franklin Nunez from Durham.

    Fick signed as a free agent with the Devil Rays in January, but
    struggled throughout the season, hitting just .201 with six home
    runs and 26 RBIs.

    "It just didn't work out," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella
    said. "We thought he'd be a much better hitter."

    Fick was an All-Star with Detroit in 2002 and played with
    Atlanta last season before joining Tampa Bay. He hit .269 with 11
    home runs and 80 RBIs in helping the Braves win their 12th
    consecutive division title.

    He had seen little playing time the past three weeks, hitting
    just .156 in his last 45 at-bats.

    Gonzalez was 0-5 with a 6.97 ERA, and was recalled from Durham
    on Aug. 4. He gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings in a relief
    appearance Wednesday against Boston.

    Kansas City Royals: The Royals claimed pitcher
    Matt Kinney off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Kinney will join the Royals on Saturday in Oakland and be used
    in relief. To make room on the 40-man roster for the 27-year-old
    righty, Kansas City designated catcher Mike Tonis for assignment.

    Kinney was 3-4 with a 5.78 ERA in 32 games for the Brewers this
    season. As a reliever, he was 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA.

    Last year, Kinney was 10-13 with Milwaukee in his first full
    major league season. He is 17-26 lifetime with a 5.18 ERA for
    Minnesota and the Brewers.

    San Francisco Giants: Shortstop Neifi Perez was released by the San Francisco Giants, who also recalled right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia from Triple-A Fresno.

    Perez was hitting .232 with two home runs and 33 RBIs in 103

    "He showed up everyday and didn't complain," manager Felipe
    Alou said. "He did complain a little bit last year. We just felt
    we needed to add an arm."

    Correia is in his third stint with the Giants, going 0-0 with a
    12.10 ERA.

    Seattle Mariners: President Bush and Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez exchanged signed baseballs.

    "We talked about all the years I beat on the Rangers,"
    Martinez told reporters before the Mariners' played the New York
    Yankees at Safeco Field.

    Bush is a former managing partner of the Texas Rangers.

    Mariners president Chuck Armstrong, who told Martinez that the
    president wanted to see him during his Seattle visit, accompanied
    the player to Boeing Field, a general aviation airport in Seattle,
    to greet Bush.

    Martinez announced this week he would retire at the end of the
    season end after an 18-year career with the Mariners. He said the
    president congratulated him on his retirement.

    Martinez refused to discuss his presidential preference.

    "No politics!" he said.