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Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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Rays' B.J. Upton gets two-game suspension for tirade

BALTIMORE - B.J. Upton has been suspended for two games and fined $1,500 for his ninth-inning tirade Wednesday. Upton is appealing the penalty but said he will serve the suspension when the Tampa Bay Rays begin a three-game series Tuesday in Cleveland. When asked why Cleveland, Upton said, "I like hitting in this park, I guess," referring to Baltimore's Camden Yards, where he is a career .281 hitter. At Cleveland, Upton has batted .180 over his career. "He's had a lot of success here, and that was his call," manager Joe Maddon said. "I don't want to argue with that. Two games here, two games there, who knows when the right two games are to take? So we just went with his wishes right now, and he's playing today."
If Upton sits the first two games of the series, he will return for the third game when the Indians are scheduled to throw right-hander Justin Masterson. Upton is a career .385 hitter against Masterson. In 17 plate appearances against Masterson, Upton has a home run, three RBI and a 1.180 OPS. Upton threw a tantrum Wednesday after he was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild for the first out in the ninth inning. It was the fourth time he struck out that game, the third time looking. Upton threw his batting helmet, bat and batting gloves and had to be restrained by third base coach Tom Foley and bench coach Dave Martinez. When asked whether he believed the penalty fit the crime, Upton said, "They look at it the way they want to look at it. Once it's over, it's out of my hands." The Rays recalled outfielder Brandon Guyer on Friday, but Maddon said the move wasn't protection for when Upton serves his suspension. The Rays wanted to give Sam Fuld a day off against a tough lefty. Guyer made headlines Friday with a homer in his first big league at-bat, but his stay with the big club will be short-lived. The Rays need a starting pitcher for Tuesday and, unless he's needed today or Sunday, that will be Andy Sonnanstine. That means the Rays will need help for the bullpen, which likely means Guyer will head back to Triple A Durham as the Rays dip into the Bulls bullpen for help. Maddon said Upton's availability in Cleveland will not influence the Rays immediate plans for Guyer. "It's nice to have Guyer here in case he (Upton) did serve his suspension now, but the way the bullpen is right now I think we're still OK," he said.
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