No discipline handed out to umpire Nauert
BALTIMORE -- Umpire Paul Nauert will not face discipline from Major League Baseball after a review of Monday's benches-clearing incident between the Tigers and Orioles, an MLB spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
The matter with Nauert is closed, according to the spokesperson. After Justin Verlander's fastball behind Nelson Cruz later on Wednesday, it appears the matter is settled between the two teams as well.
Verlander's pitch was a 1-0 fastball to Cruz with one out in the fourth inning following a Chris Davis walk. Cruz briefly stood in front of home plate and subtly made a gesture towards Verlander, but stopped at that. Home plate umpire John Tumpane issued warnings to both dugouts, prompting an argument from O's manager Buck Showalter.
"I'm just trying to figure out the consistency of it," Showalter said. "You get one pitch and they read intent on Bud, and you get one pitch that's completely obvious that there's intent there, so why did you issue a warning and not eject him?"
Verlander said the pitch "just slipped."
Manager Brad Ausmus dismissed the matter.
"As skilled as pitchers are at this level, balls get away from pitchers," Ausmus said. "It's as simple as that, just like I'm sure the ball got away from Bud Norris."
Norris was ejected from Monday's game after hitting Torii Hunter with a fastball in the ribs, two pitches after Ian Kinsler hit a two-run home run to open a 4-1 lead.
Verlander and Cruz have a history as well, dating back to the 2011 American League Championship Series. Cruz, then with the Texas Rangers, homered off a 100-mph fastball from Verlander and seemingly celebrated.
Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of on-field operations, talked with Nauert on Wednesday morning. Torre spent Tuesday reviewing the incident, including Nauert's contact with his right hand on Hunter's face as he tried to calm down the Tigers outfielder.
The situation presented an interesting scenario on the perception of umpires coming into contact with players. The still photo of Nauert's hand on Hunter's face made it look like a slap, but both the replay and Hunter's comments suggested it was much softer than that.
Hunter spoke up in support of Nauert on Tuesday, saying the contact didn't warrant an investigation.
"That doesn't make sense," Hunter said. "I mean, he was just trying to get me to calm down."
The review, both of players' behavior and the umpires involved, was standard operating procedure after that kind of incident. With the investigation now closed, neither Norris nor Hunter is expected to be disciplined.