Augusta GreenJackets pitching coach Steve Kline was suspended by the South Atlantic League for at least the next two games, with the lengthening of the suspension and addition of a fine possible while the league reviews the incident.
The incident is a result of a confrontation that occurred during Tuesday night’s game between the GreenJackets and the Rome Braves at Lake Olmstead Park between Kline and home plate umpire Carlos Torres. The current suspension will last at least until the end of the series.
The GreenJackets have said the team will be without a pitching coach for Wednesday’s game, but that minor league pitching coordinator Bert Bradley will join the team as soon as Thursday to serve as an interim pitching coach.
According to local reports, the incident occurred in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game. After visiting the mound, Kline and Torres had a verbal exchange, apparently arguing about balls and strikes. Torres ejected Kline, and Kline approached Torres with a raised finger. They bumped, and the bill of Kline’s cap hit Torres in the face, with local newspaper The Augusta Chronicle calling it a ‘head-butt’.
Torres raised his arms to protect his face while Kline continued to argue, and after the incident the game was delayed while a trainer addressed a cut below Torres’ left eye.
After the game, according to The Augusta Chronicle, Kline said he didn’t think he had made contact, and that Torres had stepped on his foot.
Torres did not comment about the incident, but did file a report with the league.
Kline is in his third year as pitching coach with the GreenJackets, continuing in the role under first-year manager Lipso Nava. Kline was a major leaguer with the San Francisco Giants, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals, the Monteal Expos, and the Cleveland Indians over an 11-year career.