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Lo Duca ejected after tirade

Lo Duca ejected after tirade

NEW YORK -- Paul Lo Duca's aggressive sixth-inning outburst, disputing home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson's strike call on an 0-1 pitch during Saturday night's game against the A's, earned the catcher his first ejection of the season.

After Hudson's call, Lo Duca immediately turned to the umpire to heatedly dispute the decision. His argumentative behavior got him ejected and summoned manager Willie Randolph from the dugout in an attempt to get between his player and the umpire.

"I swear I didn't cuss [Hudson] one time," Lo Duca said after the Mets' 1-0 win over the A's. "I started it, but he came after me, too."

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Even Randolph's physical barrier, however, could not subdue Lo Duca. Hudson said that Lo Duca was arguing about the pitch, which the catcher believed was too far inside to be deemed a strike. The umpire reviewed the tape after the game, and said he agreed with his original call.

"It was all of it," Hudson said of the reason behind Lo Duca's ejection. "It was the pointing, and him continuing to start, and the way he was doing it."

Lo Duca responded to the ejection by throwing his bat, helmet and batting gloves onto the field as he walked to the dugout. When he got there, he sent his shinpads sailing over the rail as well. The catcher tried to add his chest pad to the pile, but it hit the water cooler and didn't quite make it.

"It's always fun to see Lo Duca do his thing out there," third baseman David Wright said. "I'm not saying everyone should do that, but he plays with emotion -- I like that."

The ejection could have thrown a wrench in the works for the Mets, but it may have been a blessing in disguise, as it allowed backup catcher Ramon Castro to move into the lineup. Castro hit a leadoff double in the ninth inning, putting him in scoring position for Wright's double two at-bats later. Castro crossed the plate on the hit, ending the Mets' second game against Oakland with a 1-0 win and their first series victory in the month of June.

"It was a very key spot for us," Lo Duca said. "It was a big spot for me, too. I wanted to be the guy."

Though the game ended on a high note, Randolph did not say he was pleased with Lo Duca's behavior. And although he takes full responsibility for his outburst, Lo Duca does not regret his actions.

"It'll probably happen again," he said. "I have a good Italian temper. I just hope my daughter doesn't get it."

The possibility of a suspension is dependent on decisions from the Commissioner's office. Hudson has no part in the decision, and only reports to the office through a routine questionnaire form. Lo Duca's behavior, the umpire said, was not the worst he has experienced.

"What he's done is very offensive and everything," Hudson said, "but we see a lot of stuff."

When it comes to the threat of suspension, though, Lo Duca doesn't seem to be worried.

"For what?" he said.

Lauren Kobylarz 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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