NEW YORK, AUG. 8 -- American League President Bobby Brown today upheld the 10-day suspension of Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Niekro, who was caught with an emery board and sandpaper in his pocket in a game earlier this week.
Brown heard an appeal of the suspension today via conference call -- in lieu of a formal hearing -- from his New York office. Involved in the call were Niekro, Twins Manager Tom Kelly and Minnesota General Manager Andy MacPhail.
"After considering all of the items presented by Joe Niekro and the Minnesota Twins, the suspension has been upheld and will commence today," Brown said in a prepared statement.
Niekro, 42, was suspended Wednesday, two days after being ejected during a game against the California Angels.
Niekro, the first player to be suspended for doctoring baseballs since Gaylord Perry in 1982, was caught with the nail file and sandpaper after umpires already had collected several balls that appeared to have been scuffed.
The knuckleballer said he used the equipment to manicure his fingernails during a game. "I don't have to scuff a knuckleball, and I threw mainly knuckleballs," Niekro said.
The suspension will continue through Aug. 17.
"During that period, he will be allowed to work out with the team, but cannot be in uniform or sit on the bench or in the bullpen during the game," Brown said.
Niekro made one start while the suspension was in abeyance pending the hearing. Friday night, he threw eight strong innings in a 9-4 victory for Minnesota over the Oakland Athletics, improving his record to 6-8.