New York, NY – Major League Baseball on Friday issued a two- game suspension to umpire Fieldin Culbreth and fined him an undisclosed amount for his actions during Thursday's game between the Angels and Astros in Houston.
The Angels played the final two-plus innings of an eventual 6-5 win under protest after the Astros made an illegal pitching change with two outs in the seventh.
With left-handed hitter J.B. Shuck due up, Houston manager Bo Porter summoned southpaw Wesley Wright from the bullpen. As Wright warmed up on the mound, pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez, a right-handed batter, stepped into the on-deck circle.
Porter then called for the righty Hector Ambriz, despite Wright not throwing a pitch, which is illegal according to rule 3.05 (b) of the MLB rule book which states:
"If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief's judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher."
Halos manager Mike Scioscia adamantly argued the call to no avail, as the umpires -- with Culbreth as crew chief -- allowed Ambriz to enter the game.
MLB also issued undisclosed fines to the remainder of the officiating crew -- Brian O'Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson.
Culbreth's suspension will be served at a later date to be determined by the Commissioner's Office.