Joey Votto defends outburst, appeals suspension

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto appealed a two-game suspension Friday for his home plate tantrum, saying that he didn't deserve to be ejected from a game let alone suspended.

Major League Baseball also fined Votto an undisclosed amount Friday before the Reds' game against the St. Louis Cardinals. By appealing the suspension, Votto could stay in the starting lineup.

Votto was ejected by plate umpire Bill Welke during the eighth inning of a 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park. He took a second called strike during the at-bat and asked for timeout, but was denied.

The 2010 National League MVP had declined to talk about the matter until he received notice of his suspension Friday. Votto said he politely asked for timeout, using the word "please" three times, but Welke twice said no.

Votto said he'd never been refused a timeout in the major leagues.

"I've played for nine years now," Votto said during his 10-minute explanation to the media outside the Reds' clubhouse. "I'm granted a little bit extra time as long as I'm not showing up the umpire. There was no behavior along those lines. We have a good relationship, myself and umpires in general. I've got a great track record.

"He said no, you can't have time."

During the loud disagreement that followed, Votto waved his arm and yelled at Welke. He said he used profanity, but didn't spit on the umpire and didn't bump him. Reds manager Bryan Price also was ejected.

"Did I overreact? Yeah, I did overreact," Votto said. "But I felt so compelled and was in such an intense place. Who's to decide how angry I'm allowed to get as long as I follow the rules? I didn't touch him.

"I disagree with the suspension. I disagree with the ejection."

The ejection was Votto's third of the season and seventh of his career. He was suspended for one game after bumping umpire Chris Conroy on May 6. Votto publicly apologized for his behavior after that confrontation.

He said Welke's refusal to grant him timeout will be central to his appeal.

"I've never seen that before and I don't know if he has a track record of saying no," Votto said. "It was just such an odd scenario and I didn't get it, I didn't get it at all.

"I know I'm appealing for some compassion here, but I've been hammered publicly for this over the last couple days and I feel like I'm trying to give my side of the story here."

BACKGROUND: Votto goes ballistic, get ejected

Votto was tossed Wednesday by plate umpire Bill Welke while the Reds were trying to rally in the eighth against Pittsburgh. The 2010 NL MVP argued a called strike two and slammed down his batting helmet, hollering and gesturing as he went nose-to-nose with Welke.

The dispute quickly escalated, and Reds teammates intervened to restrain Votto, with first base umpire Laz Diaz helping prevent the big hitter from getting back at Welke.

Cincinnati manager Bryan Price also was ejected.