Umpire in Bradley incident suspended

Umpire in Bradley incident suspended

SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball has suspended umpire Mike Winters for the remainder of the season, the Commissioner's Office announced on Wednesday.

The suspension evolved from an investigation of an eighth-inning incident during Sunday's Rockies-Padres game in San Diego in which Padres left fielder Milton Bradley was ejected for arguing with Winters. Winters was the first-base umpire that day.

According to Padres first-base coach Bobby Meacham, Winters instigated the incident by directing a profanity-laden accusation toward Bradley, which spearheaded the ensuing fracas.

"I can't tell you what he said because you couldn't print it," Padres manager Bud Black said at AT&T Park, where the Padres are playing the Giants. San Diego is hotly vying for a playoff spot.

Asked if the statement was racial or profane, Black said: "Profane."

As the incident devolved, Bradley had to be restrained by Meacham and ultimately Black, who spun Bradley to the ground as he tried to pull him away from Winters. The left fielder fell, grabbing his right knee. On Monday an MRI exam revealed that Bradley has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in that knee, and after pending surgery he will be out for as long as nine months.

Bob Watson, MLB's vice president of on-field operations, conducted the investigation and passed along his findings to Jimmy Lee Solomon, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, who made the decision.

"I'm not going to discuss what went into the investigation," Watson said.

Solomon could not be immediately reached for comment.

Winters' crew is in Detroit for a series against the Twins that wraps up Wednesday night. He was replaced by Triple-A umpire Scott Barry. It is not known if Barry will remain with the crew when it moves to Milwaukee on Thursday for a four-game season-ending series between the Padres and Brewers.

Sandy Alderson, the Padres' chief executive officer who oversaw umpires when he was an MLB executive vice president, said he didn't want to directly speak about the decision.

"We're pleased MLB investigated the matter," Alderson said when reached by telephone in San Diego, "but I have no comment on the decision."

The Padres, who trail the D-backs by two games in the National League West and lead the Phillies and Rockies by a game in the NL Wild Card race, close out a three-game series at San Francisco on Wednesday night. They will move on to Milwaukee where they open a four-game series on Thursday night against a Brewers team that's trying to catch the Cubs for first place in the NL Central.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.