DENVER (AP) _ An appeal did little to help St. Louis reliever Julian Tavarez, who was suspended for eight games Friday for applying a foreign substance to balls while pitching last month.
Tavarez was ejected from a game Aug. 24 against Pittsburgh when umpires inspected his grimy hat. After the game, crew chief Joe West said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa ``as much admitted'' it was pine tar on Tavarez' cap.
Tavarez was originally handed a 10-game suspension. The penalty, which began with Friday's game at Colorado, was reduced by two games after the appeal.
Still, La Russa was livid, not only because Tavarez won't return until Oct. 2, with just two games remaining in the regular season, but because he doesn't think the penalty is appropriate for the transgression.
``What kind of message is baseball sending there? The message I get is a bad one,'' La Russa said.
Tavarez (7-4, 2.45 ERA) is St. Louis' main setup man in the bullpen. He sounded resigned to the suspension.
``What am I going to do?'' he said. ``I won't have a lot of time before the playoffs.''