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Willson Contreras gets two-game suspension following altercation with umpire

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Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras has been handed a two-game suspension and a fine after a heated confrontation with home plate umpire Jordan Baker on Friday afternoon. Right-hander John Lackey has also been fined, though neither amount has been disclosed.

The altercation arose in the fifth inning of the Cubs’ 8-2 win over the Cardinals, when Baker misread a pitch to Carlos Martinez and called Ball 3 on what should have been an inning-ending strikeout. Not only did the botched call extend the at-bat, but it gave Martinez the opportunity he needed for an RBI single, handing the Cardinals a 2-1 lead as Kolten Wong scooted home. From there, things got a bit dicey:

Predictably, both Lackey and Contreras were ejected following the tiff. Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon came to his catcher’s defense in the postgame press conference, telling reporters, “There was no intent at the umpire whatsoever. He slammed [the helmet] down in anger.”

Intentional or not, arguing balls and strikes¬†and making contact with an umpire are two pretty clear-cut no-nos. As expected, Contreras decided to appeal his suspension and will still be eligible to play in Saturday’s game against the Cardinals.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.