Notes: Ohka fined for mound incident

Notes: Ohka fined for mound incident

WASHINGTON -- While Major League Baseball won't likely levy a fine or suspension to Marlon Byrd until at least Monday for his run-in on Saturday with umpires Joe Brinkman and Bill Miller, the Nationals punished right-hander Tomo Ohka on Sunday for his more subtle display of resistance.

Washington fined Ohka an undisclosed amount "for contempt directed toward Nationals manager Frank Robinson" when the skipper asked for the ball in Saturday's fourth inning, the team said in a press release.

"Tomo has been fined," interim general manager Jim Bowden told Dave Shea of the Nationals radio network minutes after the team held a 10-minute closed-door meeting. "One thing you can't do on a Major League ballclub is have a player show up the manager."

Ohka had his back turned as Robinson trotted out to the mound to remove the starter with two runners on and the Marlins threatening to break a 3-3 tie. It was similar to a May 3 incident in Los Angeles when Robinson approached Zach Day on the mound.

"When I come to the mound, you're gone," Robinson said. "You're not going to talk me out of it. Give me the ball, leave the mound."

Ohka had allowed runs in each of the first three innings and didn't have the velocity on his fastball that was present in his previous two starts. Robinson said he was forced to take the righty out because he was concerned his offense wouldn't be able to respond from a big inning out of the Marlins.

Ohka had little to say regarding the fine.

"Nobody likes to be fined," he said. "I don't like it. It was Robinson's decision."

Robinson -- who snatched the ball from Ohka's hands -- said he feels Ohka holds some resentment toward the manager for not letting him work through problems as he does with Livan Hernandez and Esteban Loaiza.

"He has this thing that goes back for years that I don't have confidence in him," Robinson said. "He just thinks I have something against him personally, I guess."

Robinson said he addressed the issue of respecting a manager in Spring Training, and doesn't want an incident to alter relationships with the rest of his players.

"It just sets a bad precedent," Robinson said. "The chemistry should be sky high right now on this ballclub -- and it is. But one person can damage that chemistry to a point where it hurts the team."

Awaiting judgment: Robinson -- who oversaw discipline as vice president of on-field operations for MLB prior to his most recent managerial term -- said the league will not likely look at Byrd's incident until Monday.

On Saturday, Byrd made contact with Brinkman after being ejected for arguing a called third strike. Coming from left field prior to the start of the seventh inning, Byrd collided with the second base umpire as he ran toward Miller, the first base ump, to argue.

Robinson said the league will review a report filed by Brinkman and any replays available. Because the offices are usually closed on the weekend, he doesn't expect an immediate ruling.

"It was an accident, as far as I was able to determine," Robinson said Sunday of the collision, which he still had not seen on replay.

Not left out: Almost lost in discussion of Saturday's two altercations, the Nats' resiliency and a strong outing by long reliever Sunny Kim, was the performance of left-hander C.J. Nitkowski.

The journeyman reliever retired four Marlins at a critical juncture in the seventh and eighth innings. Nitkowski induced groundouts from pinch-hitter Jeff Conine and speedsters Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo before striking out Carlos Delgado.

Despite showing success against right- and left-handed hitters (Nitkowski faced two of each), the former starter who has pitched for eight different Major League teams said he isn't getting settled just yet.

"I can't afford myself to get relaxed or get comfortable," Nitkowski said. "I think I have to prove myself. I don't think I have earned a defined role yet."

   Brad Wilkerson  /   CF
Born: 06/01/77
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

Injury report: Jose Guillen was held out of the lineup Sunday after being hit on the right hand by an Al Leiter pitch on Saturday. The medical staff determined that there was no break, and Guillen said he's "fine." The right fielder added that he could come in late in Sunday's game.

With Brad Wilkerson out until Tuesday with an injured hand, Tony Blanco started in left field, Byrd played center and Ryan Church began the game in right on Sunday.

Stat of the day: While his name may seem to indicate stronger performances on Sundays, Church has played his best on Saturdays this season. After going 3-for-4 with a triple in Saturday's win, Church is hitting .448 on that day of the week with seven RBIs. All three of his home runs also have come on Saturdays.

On deck: The Nationals begin a three-game Interleague series with Oakland on Tuesday at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. Tony Armas Jr. makes his first career start against the A's, who sit in last place in the American League West.

David Selig is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.