Jonathan Papelbon gets three-game suspension for ump bump

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A rather severe penalty for an incident that was actually incited by the ump.

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended three games and fined for bumping home plate umpire Tony Randazzo after being ejected from Saturday’s game against the Athletics.

Papelbon is appealing the penalty and will be available to pitch tonight.

Papelbon has maintained that he was talking to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and not Randazzo during the exchange that led to Saturday’s incident.  After Papelbon turned around, Randazzo stepped out from behind home plate and took a couple of steps towards the mound, shouting back to Papelbon.

As soon as Randazzo made that move, it was a given that Papelbon would be ejected.  There was no other way it could have played out.  Papelbon, of course, took the invitation and went chest-to-chest with Randazzo.  He didn’t appear to intentionally bump Randazzo at any time, but there was definitely some contact.

Given the circumstances, Papelbon would seem to have a pretty good chance of getting the penalty reduced.  Randazzo was just as much of a hot-head as he was, and there was no obvious intent to bump (or grind) on Papelbon’s part.

Troy Tulowitzki held a workout for eleven clubs

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Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.

Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.

It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.

Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.