Phils ask for Perez to remove 'distracting' undershirt
D-backs reliever takes off sleeves after Sandberg confers with umpires
PHOENIX -- It was an inconsequential moment in Friday night's 5-4 D-backs win over the Phillies, but an interesting one just the same.
Left-hander Oliver Perez was brought in to open the eighth inning and face lefty hitters Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. After Utley flied out, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg came out of the dugout to complain to plate umpire Mark Wegner about a problem with the sleeves of the pitcher's red, long-sleeved undershirt.
"Noticed it from the dugout. It was just flopping," Sandberg said afterward. "There was a lot of movement there with the delivery. It was fairly obvious with that much movement on it that it would be distracting."
The four umpires met and Wegner told Perez to remove the shirt, which had slits in each sleeve. On the way to the dugout, he dropped the ball, flipped his glove to the ground and began disrobing, returning to pitch without a shirt beneath his white D-backs jersey.
Howard singled and Perez was removed from the game for right-hander Brad Zeigler.
"[The umpire] said that one sleeve was longer than the other and he had a little tear in it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "There was nothing we could do about it. The rule says it's supposed to be the same length, the same color. And it can't be flapping. I have a pretty good idea whose call that was in the other dugout and it wasn't Sandberg."
When asked if he was talking about Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa, Gibson respnded: "You figure it out!"
Perez declined to comment.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.