By Sean McAdam
NEW YORK -- Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended Tuesday for three games by Major League Baseball, stemming from an incident Saturday during which Papelbon was ejected.
Papelbon plans to appeal the penalty and will be available for the Red Sox' series-opening game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. It is unclear how quickly an appeal could take place.
In a release, MLB stated Papelbon's suspension was due to "inappropriate conduct" and physical contact with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo. The Red Sox led 7-3 heading into the top of the ninth against Oakland when, with the A's rallying, catcher Jason Varitek began barking at Randazzo over balls and strikes, leading to the catcher's ejection.
Later in the same inning, Papelbon, too, drew disgusted with Randazzo's inconsistency and, after being thrown the ball by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, turned away from home plate and could be seen voicing his displeasure with Randazzo's calls. Randazzo then stepped out from behind the plate and stepped toward the mound to reprimand Papelbon, who grew angrier that Randazzo was calling him out when Papelbon had not directed his remarks at the umpire.
As Papelbon walked closer to the plate to confront Randazzo, the argument intensified and the pitcher made physical contact with the umpire.