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A jury of one returned a verdict Tuesday that satisfied the Angels and stunned the Boston Red Sox.

Boston pitcher Josh Beckett was suspended for six games and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu and for "aggressive actions" after the pitch, which led to Sunday's bench-clearing incident at Angel Stadium.

Beckett immediately appealed the suspension, which, if served, would cause the Red Sox ace to sit out one start.

"It makes us feel good that MLB supported our position," Manager Mike Scioscia said, "especially since we were somehow painted as the aggressors."

The incident began in the first inning when Beckett, after time had been called and Abreu was stepping out of the batter's box, fired a pitch that nearly hit Abreu in the head.

When Abreu, arms at his side, called out to Beckett, the pitcher responded by walking menacingly toward the batter. The Angels' dugout and bullpen emptied but no punches were thrown.

An umpiring crew headed by Joe West ejected Scioscia, hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and two players, Torii Hunter and Justin Speier. No Red Sox player was tossed.

In a move that was seen as a rebuke to the umpiring crew, Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for MLB, levied the worst punishment on Beckett. Hatcher was suspended for Tuesday's game against Seattle; Scioscia, Hunter and Speier were fined.

"We were all pretty shocked by it," Beckett told Boston reporters. "I think the appeal speaks for everything we feel."

Boston Manager Terry Francona said that after talking to the umpires during the game he didn't expect to hear from the league.

"It sounds like they overruled the umpires," Francona said. "That's disturbing."

Not to the Angels , who were stunned by the postgame comments of West, who said the Angels "were the aggressors; that's why they were ejected." West said he didn't think Beckett tried to hit Abreu and that the ball didn't come that close to Abreu's head.

"They reviewed the tape, and it was so blatant they had to suspend him," Hunter said.

Hunter stopped short of criticizing the umpires, saying, "That's a smoking gun -- I plead the Fifth. I'm not going to say anything about the umpires. You can write what you want."


Funeral for a friend

Owner Arte Moreno has secured a private jet to transport an Angels contingent from Seattle to the Baltimore area for Thursday's private memorial service for Nick Adenhart, the 22-year-old pitcher who was killed in a car accident early last Thursday.

General Manager Tony Reagins, Scioscia, pitching coach Mike Butcher, pitchers Jered Weaver, Dustin Moseley and John Lackey, and Tim Mead, vice president of communications, will leave after tonight's game against the Mariners.

The group is scheduled to return in time for Thursday night's game against Seattle in Safeco Field.

"Ideally, all the players would love to be there and support the family," Reagins said, "but logistically, that won't work."

Thursday's service is closed to the media and public. Another service will be held Friday at 7 p.m. EDT at Williamsport (Md.) High, where Adenhart played.


Not so fast

That bump in the road that Kelvim Escobar hit in his recovery from shoulder surgery is looking more like a mogul.

Escobar, scratched from Thursday's Class-A rehabilitation start because of inflammation in the shoulder, played catch Friday and Saturday but was shut down again when he felt discomfort.

"It didn't feel good, it didn't feel right," Escobar said. "There's no reason to push it. I'm going to take it easy this week, get treatment and go from there."

His latest setback ensures that Escobar won't return until at least early May. The Angels hoped he would return this month.


Spot start

Scioscia announced after Tuesday's game that long reliever Darren Oliver, who threw three scoreless innings against Seattle, will start Saturday in Minnesota, the first time since Adenhart's death the Angels will need a fifth starter.

To bolster a bullpen that will be without Oliver for the next three days and for at least a few days after Saturday, the Angels recalled right-handed reliever Rafael Rodriguez from triple-A Salt Lake and optioned reserve outfielder Reggie Willits to Salt Lake.

Oliver has not started a game since 2004.





Time: 7.

Where: Safeco Field.

On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830, 980, 1330.

Pitchers: Jered Weaver vs. Jarrod Washburn.

Update: Weaver is coming off one of his best games, an emotionally charged 6 2/3 -inning effort in which he gave up one unearned run and struck out eight in a 6-3 win over Boston. The game was the Angels' first after the death of pitcher Nick Adenhart. Seattle outfielder and leadoff batter Ichiro Suzuki, on the disabled list because of a bleeding ulcer, is expected to be activated for tonight's game. Washburn, a former Angel, threw eight innings against the Minnesota Twins in a 2-0 victory Thursday. The left-hander has a 4-5 record with a 4.31 ERA in 10 starts against the Angels .

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 15, 2009

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