Fowler ejected for asking about strike zone

Fowler ejected for asking about strike zone

CHICAGO -- Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler knew he had a few more at-bats in Thursday night's 5-2 win, and after being called out on strikes for the second time against Nationals starter Joe Ross, he asked home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza for a clarification of his strike zone. Fowler never got one. Instead, he was tossed.

Fowler was ejected for the first time in his career in the third inning for questioning a called third strike.

"It was a key question," Fowler said. "I just asked what the strike zone is. I was curious what the strike zone is, and he threw me out for asking a question and never answered my question either.

"He just walked away and said, 'That's enough,'" Fowler said. "I said, 'You're not going to answer my question?' And he threw me out. I figure I've got two more at-bats, so I want to know the strike zone. Just let me know, that's all."

Fowler had reached base in his previous six games, and boasted a Major League-leading .542 on-base percentage coming into the series opener at Wrigley Field. After Fowler was tossed, manager Joe Maddon had a few words with Carapazza.

"I was arguing that we are a team that does not expand our strike zone -- that was our argument," Maddon said.

Fowler said he's never been ejected from a game at any level.

"I'm always respectful," he said. "I asked, 'Is that the top of the zone?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Are you going to call it away and down?' I want to know the strike zone. He said, 'That's enough.' I said, 'Enough of what? I'm asking you a question.'"

Jason Heyward, who had not started four straight games because of a sore right wrist, took over in center field for Fowler, who was called out on strikes in the first as well.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.