Umpire Joe West was suspended by Major League Baseball for one game Wednesday for making contact with Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon during an argument on Sunday.
West, whose 36-year career makes him the longest-serving active umpire, ejected Papelbon for making an inappropriate gesture as he walked off the field in Sunday's 5-4 loss to Miami. West, in an ensuing argument, grabbed the pitcher's jersey. Papelbon was suspended for seven games for his actions.
West will serve his suspension tonight instead of working the Yankees-Rays game at Tampa Bay. Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, issued a statement regarding the suspension.
"Joe West handled himself appropriately in ejecting Papelbon after the player's lewd gesture to the fans," Torre said. "I fully understand that Joe was reacting to a player who was acting aggressively, and can understand his frustration with the situation.
"However, Joe knows that an umpire cannot initiate physical contact with a player, just as a player cannot initiate physical contact with an umpire. I spoke to Joe about the incident, and he admitted that there was a better way to handle the situation. I consider this matter closed."
Papelbon gave up four runs in the ninth inning of Sunday's game, and he made a gesture as he walked off the field. West, who had been umpiring second base, approached the dugout and ejected Papelbon, leading to a vigorous argument on the field between the two. West grabbed Papelbon's jersey at one point.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.