Athletics left fielder Josh Willingham was handed down a one-game suspension on Monday for some “inappropriate conduct” in Saturday’s game against the Royals.
Willingham made contact with umpire Bill Miller while arguing a called third strike in the eighth inning of the game. Willingham, who said Miller initiated the contact, appealed the suspension and is in the lineup for Monday’s game.
Willingham is hitting just .225 this season, but he leads the A’s with five homers and 17 RBI. It’s the first time in his eight-year career that he’s been suspended.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.