Astros' Qualls suspended 3 games for throwing ball into stands

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Houston reliever Chad Qualls was
suspended for three games and fined $3,000 by Major League Baseball
on Wednesday -- two days after throwing a baseball into the stands
at Angel Stadium in frustration.

Chad Qualls


Relief Pitcher
Houston Astros


Qualls asked the players' union to appeal the penalty, meaning
he cannot disciplined until after a hearing is held and the appeal
is decided.

The decision was made by Bob Watson, baseball's vice president
for discipline.

Qualls allowed five runs in the seventh inning Monday night as
the Astros blew a 9-4 lead to the Los Angeles Angels, who rallied
for a 10-9 victory. After Orlando Cabrera hit an inning-ending
grounder in the seventh, Qualls made the putout at first base and
then threw the ball into the stands.

"I was just mad about the way the inning went, the way the runs
had scored, and I fired the ball into the third deck," Qualls said
before Wednesday night's game against the Angels. "It was pure
frustration. We were ahead 9-4, then it was ground ball after
ground ball.

"It was frustrating. We've been playing so well, we had scored
nine runs, I didn't get the job done. The way they scored their
runs made me angry."

Qualls said his agent, Alan Hendricks, called Wednesday morning
to inform him of the fine and suspension.

"We both thought it was a little excessive," Qualls said. "He
spoke with the union and we filed an appeal."

Qualls said he didn't know when the appeal will be heard.

"I'm just going to play baseball in the meantime," he said.

Manager Phil Garner acknowledged some action had to be taken.

"I thought it was a little excessive, although I do understand
the need to do something," Garner said. "I believe they dinged
him too much. I'm sure he regrets what he did."

Qualls, a 28-year-old right-hander, is 5-3 with a 4.17 ERA in a
team-high 36 games with one save.