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The Inside Track

Minor Leaguer Is Suspended for the Season After Melee

August 21, 2003|Ben Bolch

The Seattle Mariners have suspended Evel Bastida for the remainder of the California League season and are considering releasing the Inland Empire 66er infielder because he struck a pitcher with a baseball bat in a game at Lancaster on Monday.

"We want to send a message to him and the rest of our players that that's behavior we won't condone," said Benny Looper, vice president of player development for the Mariners, the parent organization of the Class-A affiliate. A decision on whether to release Bastida will not be made until after the season, Looper said.

Bastida, 24, was also fined an undisclosed amount by the California League and could face felony assault charges in connection with the altercation that started when Lancaster pitcher Josh Kranawetter hit the second baseman with a pitch in the 15th inning.

Bastida charged the mound and hit Kranawetter in the lower back with his bat, igniting a 25-minute melee that resulted in the ejection of 16 players and suspension of the game.

The California League has informed Lancaster and Inland Empire officials about suspensions and fines but according to league policy refused to make the information public, said John Oldham, league supervisor of umpires.

Tim O'Sullivan, Lancaster's director of broadcasting and media relations, said eight JetHawk players and the team's hitting coach have been suspended three games apiece. Kranawetter was not suspended, O'Sullivan said.

Inland Empire officials could not be reached for comment.

Looper said the Mariners would offer Bastida counseling. "That's the first sign of violence we've seen from him," Looper said.

Lancaster and Inland Empire are scheduled to meet in a three-game series starting Friday in San Bernardino; Monday's game will be completed then.

-- Ben Bolch

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