Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba has been suspended for 66 games in the Venezuelan League after striking an umpire during a game last Friday, according to a report on ESPN.com. There has been no word from Major League Baseball or the Rangers if he will face any disciplinary action from them.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels could not be reached for comment. Daniels said over the weekend that the club was aware of the incident and gathering information before determining any possible course of action.
Torrealba struck a home plate umpire after striking out in a game Friday. Shortly after Torrealba, who plays for Leones del Caracas, swung and missed at strike three, he got in the face of the umpire and eventually hit him in the face mask with an open hand.
While there may not be any official rule that states a Major League franchise has to do anything to discipline a player for their wrongdoing in another league, Torrealba has to know that his actions can't go unnoticed.
It doesn't matter how much you feel an umpire has made the wrong call, you don't ever put your hands on them. They are the authority figures when the games start, and if you don't like the way that they are calling a game, it needs to be expressed vocally.
Major League Baseball can't let this slide, and the Venezuelan League was perfectly within its rights to suspend him for 66 games, which covers the rest of this season and all of next season.
Watching the video, it was not an incident where Torrealba was trying to make a gesture with his hand and accidentally hit the umpire's mask. He looked like he wanted to throw down his bat and start a fight with the umpire.
No matter what Torrealba might think about the umpire, he has to know better than to lose his cool like that. He is 33 years old and has been a professional player for 10 years; he knows how the game works.
This incident can't be swept under the rug by Bud Selig. It has to be looked at as a way to make an example of a player who deliberately broke the rules and must be punished accordingly.