Bowden Backs Pérez in Spat With Umpire

By Andrew Astleford
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 10, 2008

Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden said the team sent a letter and video to the commissioner's office yesterday in defense of pitcher Odalis Pérez, who was ejected from Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Arizona after two balk calls by umpire Angel Hernandez in the third inning.

Bowden said Pérez has made the same move all season and that his ejection was frustrating. Bowden said he hopes that the league agrees that the balk calls were incorrect and any confusion regarding Pérez's pick-off move would be cleared.

Pérez called Hernandez "stupid" and "an idiot" after the game. He also said he had been unfairly targeted. There hasn't been any official word on a possible suspension.

"I didn't think it was a balk," Bowden said. "It's the same move he has made for 10 years. I've looked at the video many times. . . . And if the league agrees it's not a balk, like every other crew has ruled this year, then I think we need to make sure it's one rule for him. Because it's frustrating for a pitcher when you go out there and you make the move all year long and it's not a balk, and then one umpire crew calls it a balk. So it's unfair and unjust."

Johnson in a Cast for 4 Weeks

First baseman Nick Johnson said yesterday that he will be in a cast for four weeks, then start rehabilitation. Johnson had surgery on June 24 to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist. Team officials expect Johnson at full strength by spring training.

"I just had to get it done," Johnson said of the surgery. "I was frustrated, but I just took care of it to get it healthy." . . .

Left fielder Elijah Dukes underwent successful arthroscopic surgery yesterday in Tampa. Surgeon Koko Eaton repaired two small tears in the meniscus of Dukes's right knee. Team officials said Dukes will begin rehabilitation immediately and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Staff writers Dave Sheinin and Mark Viera contributed to this report.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company