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AROUND THE MAJORS

Welke Admits He Missed Key Call

August 04, 2003|From Associated Press

Umpire Tim Welke admitted Sunday he probably missed a call at first base that cost the Colorado Rockies the tying run in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates the day before.

Welke, the crew chief, called Jay Payton out at first base to complete a game-ending double play in Pittsburgh's 1-0 victory at Pittsburgh. There were runners at first and third and one out when Payton came to the plate.

Replays appeared to show that Payton beat the throw from second baseman Abraham Nunez. Welke said Payton probably was safe.

"Now I looked at the replays, and I know the replays aren't very good, but I don't get a second chance at it. It was a tough night sleeping last night," said Welke, a major league umpire for 21 years. "Sure, I would have liked another whack at it. It was a close play, and I understand the situation. But every day you turn a new page. You have to."

The Rockies were livid Saturday, arguing that Payton was clearly safe. Colorado General Manager Dan O'Dowd said Sunday that he filed a complaint with Major League Baseball.

"You hear people say that umpires don't care -- that was living proof," Colorado's Larry Walker said. "[Country singer] Ronnie Milsap could have made that call, and he's blind."

After the game, Colorado first-base coach Dave Collins said he could have made the correct call "from my hotel room."

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The Chicago Cubs put second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, who suffered a broken right hand Saturday when he was hit by a pitch from Arizona's Miguel Batista, on the 15-day disabled list.

Grudzielanek, who was batting .305 and leading the Cubs in hits (123), was hit in the fifth inning. He is expected to be out from two to four weeks.

"He's been a super player for us, not only offensively but defensively too," Cub Manager Dusty Baker said.

"We were hoping it wasn't broken. I was praying last night. I said 'Lord, please don't let it be broken.' But then I got the call from our trainer."

Ramon Martinez will take Grudzielanek's spot in the lineup, and the Cubs purchased the contract of infielder Augie Ojeda from Triple-A Iowa to fill out the roster.

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The Minnesota Twins activated third baseman Corey Koskie from the 15-day disabled list after Sunday's game with Detroit and optioned infielder Alex Prieto to triple-A Rochester.

Koskie has not played since July 12, when he strained his back against the Angels. He's hitting .298 with 14 home runs and 55 runs batted in. Prieto was hitless in three at-bats.

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The Detroit Tigers activated catcher A.J. Hinch from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Andres Torres to triple-A Toledo.

Hinch has not played since July 17, when he left a game in Chicago with a pulled groin. He hit .207 with one home run and seven RBIs in 19 games. Torres was batting .217 with six RBIs in 46 games.

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