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Chamberlain suspended two games

Chamberlain suspended two games

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NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain didn't even consider the possibility of a suspension after he'd been ejected from Thursday afternoon's game against the Red Sox. Now, he'll have plenty of time to think it through.

Chamberlain was suspended for two games on Friday and fined an undisclosed amount for twice throwing near the head of Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis. He will begin serving his suspension on Friday night as the Yankees open a series with the Devil Rays.

"They can think whatever they want," Chamberlain said of those who would view his accepting the punishment as an admission of guilt. "We know in this clubhouse what it is, and that's all that matters."

Chamberlain was ejected after two consecutive fastballs nearly hit Youkilis in the head, prompting several Red Sox players and coaches to question the young pitcher's motives after the game. Chamberlain has repeatedly insisted that the near-beanings were not intentional and that he was surprised others saw them in that light.

"They can do whatever they want," he said. "They can make their own judgments. All that matters is these guys in here, and everybody who believes in themselves and this team understands what's going on."

Manager Joe Torre learned of the suspension about three hours prior to Friday's game, and after discussing options with his 21-year-old pitcher, elected to have Chamberlain serve the suspension on Friday and Saturday. Chamberlain would have been unavailable to pitch on Friday anyway, having thrown 1 1/3 innings before being ejected, so the Yankees will, in effect, only be losing his services for one game.

Chamberlain could have appealed the suspension, but Torre didn't want to risk losing his pitcher in September, when the games might take on even more meaning. Torre said that even if an appeal were accepted, he didn't expect anything less than a sentence reduction -- meaning the risks of an appeal outweighed the benefits.

"I haven't changed my opinion," Torre said. "There was no reason to do it on purpose. But I know trying to fight this, or speak about it, doesn't do me any good. So be it."

Chamberlain said that he would stay at Yankee Stadium to watch Friday's game from a different vantage point.

Torre's main objection to the suspension -- and, originally, the ejection -- is that home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez did not warn Chamberlain after the first of the two pitches nearly hit Youkilis. That, to him, meant that the umpires were not expecting any foul play.

"If the umpire's suspicious, warn him," Torre said. "If the second one really raised his suspicion, warn him then. If he wasn't suspicious after the first one, why would he automatically throw him out after the second one?"

In nine games since joining the Yankees, Chamberlain had yet to allow a run, striking out 17 and walking just four.

A release from Major League Baseball cited "inappropriate actions" as the reason for the suspension.

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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