BOSTON (AP) – Boston Red Sox pitcher David Wells was suspended for six games for making contact with two umpires. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Wells would appeal, allowing him to start Friday night’s game against the New York Yankees.

“I just want to make sure it gets done properly because he’s pitching tonight,” Francona told reporters who filed back into his office when the suspension was announced about 2 hours before game time. “I kind of had an idea that it was coming.”

A few minutes earlier, Wells sat at his locker in the Red Sox clubhouse reading a magazine. Asked if he had been suspended, he said, “Get away from me, man. I’m pitching tonight.”

After taking a phone call, Francona went out to talk to Wells, who did not react to the news. Francona said he left the pitcher a message earlier in the afternoon, but Wells did not check his voice mail.

“Obviously, he’ll appeal it,” Francona said. “He’s going to pitch tonight. It doesn’t affect that.”

Wells was ejected in the seventh inning by second base umpire Chris Guccione in a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on July 2. The left-hander turned his back to home plate and waved his glove in apparent disgust after allowing a single to Shea Hillenbrand.

After being thrown out, Wells walked toward Guccione and the pair screamed at each other brim-to-brim before they were separated. First baseman Kevin Millar and umpire Angel Hernandez came over to try to help settle things down, and Wells apparently made contact with Hernandez as well.

Wells said after the game that he uttered a profanity about plate umpire Larry Poncino, who was walking back to the plate.

Francona said he spoke to Bob Watson, baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline, over the All-Star break and knew a suspension was imminent. While the Red Sox manager bemoaned the timing of the news, he said he didn’t think it would bother Wells.

“I think that they feel they wanted him to miss a start,” the Red Sox manager said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before. But David has pitched enough games, I don’t think it will affect him.”


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