Black, Colbert ejected amid confusion
Padres skipper, bench coach tossed for double-switch attempt
NEW YORK -- Padres manager Bud Black motioned his hands on Thursday, waving two fingers in the air. Eventually, a mix-up in how to wave those digits led to an argument with home-plate umpire Tim Tichenor and ejections for Black and bench coach Craig Colbert.
In the middle of the eighth inning against the Mets, Black wanted to execute a double switch that would move his pitcher, Bryan Corey, into the No. 2 hole -- hence the hand motion -- to replace Brian Giles, who had pinch-hit for second baseman Tadahito Iguchi. Edgar Gonzalez would stay in the game at second base after pinch-hitting for reliever Cla Meredith.
Instead, Tichenor interpreted Black's hand gesture -- which crew chief Gerry Davis said was more like a chopping motion than a wave in the air for "two" -- as a call for a straight-up switch of Gonzalez for the pitcher. With the misinterpretation, outfielder Scott Hairston was forced to move to second base and Giles stayed in the game.
"Todd said Buddy indicated straight up. Buddy said he signaled 'two.' But you don't signal two like this," Davis said, motioning his hand as if to chop air with two fingers.
Black was frustrated that Tichenor would interpret the move that way, especially when the scoreboard had already posted the move as laid out by Black. And Hairston hadn't played second base since 2004 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"We wanted to put Corey in the two-hole," Black said. "We took [Iguchi] out for the pinch-hitter. Edgar hit in the nine-hole. Edgar had to stay in the game. We didn't have any other second baseman."
Black, waving his scorecard in the air and repeating the two-fingered gesture to Tichenor, would eventually walk toward the visitors' clubhouse. Shortly thereafter, Colbert, who had become the acting manager, started yelling at Tichenor and was ejected while in the dugout. He took his case to the field before joining Black inside.
Black maintains the conversation with Tichenor went a little something like this:
"He said, 'Buddy, I thought you said straight up.'
"I said, 'No, went two-hole.'
"He said, 'I didn't hear it that way.'
"And I said, 'Did you hear me say, "Straight up?"'
"He goes, 'No, and I thought you meant straight up, and I have to go with what I saw.'"
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.