Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon was suspended indefinitely by the team Wednesday for insubordination after reportedly grabbing general manager Ed Wade by the neck and throwing him to the ground.
Chacon, upset after getting demoted to the bullpen over the weekend, told the Houston Chronicle this problem began when Wade saw him in the dining room before the game against Texas. Wade wanted to meet with Chacon in manager Cecil Cooper's office, the pitcher said.
"I sat down to eat and Ed Wade came to me and very sternly said, 'You need to come with me to the office,"' Chacon said. "I said, 'For what?' I said, 'I don't want to go to the office with you and Cooper.' And I said, 'You can tell me whatever you got to tell me right here.' He's like, 'Oh, you want me to tell you right here?' And I said, 'Yeah.' I'm not yelling. I'm calm."
Chacon said things went downhill from there.
"He started yelling and cussing," Chacon said of Wade, according to a story on the Chronicle's Web site. "I'm sitting there and I said to him very calmly, 'Ed, you need to stop yelling at me. Then I stood up and said, 'You better stop yelling at me.' I stood up. He continued and was basically yelling."
Chacon said that after Wade told him he needed to "look in the mirror," it got worse.
"So at that point I lost my cool and I grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground. I jumped on top of him," he said. "Words were exchanged."
Chacon said players quickly came and separated the two. He recalled outfielder Reggie Abercrombie pulling him away from Wade.
Wade announced the move, but would not provide any other details. Chacon has been upset since being bumped from the rotation and moved into the bullpen on Sunday.
"He is suspended pending final resolution of whatever move we end up making with him," Wade said.
Chacon is 2-3 with a 5.04 ERA in 15 starts for Houston this year. The right-hander set a major league record with nine straight no-decisions to start the season.
When asked if Chacon was disciplined because he physically accosted Wade, the GM said: "I'm not getting into any details of anything beyond what I just said. It is an internal matter." Astros slugger Lance Berkman, who said he did not see the incident, was one of the few players who agreed to talk about it. "Obviously it's something that nobody in here is thrilled that it happened," he said. "But this is a sport of high emotion and sometimes things happen that organizations wish wouldn't and that's why there's vehicles like suspending the players to deal with those situations."
Wade did confirm that Chacon's agent called and requested a trade earlier this week but said "that has nothing to do with the events of today."
Chacon is concerned that he might not pitch in the majors again.
"Maybe it shouldn't have happened," Chacon said. "But when you do those things and you're yelling at somebody and you're cussing you better know what type of person you're dealing with. If there's any regret, I just wish they had just let me alone. I wish they had left me alone," he told the Chronicle.
Chacon signed a $2 million, one-year contract with Houston in February after spending 2007 with Pittsburgh. He split time as a starter and a reliever there and was 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA and one save in 64 appearances with the Pirates.
When asked if he was concerned about his personality or character when Chacon was signed, Wade opted to discuss his play instead.
"I'd hoped he pitched better for us," Wade said. "That's the bottom line. We took him out of the rotation on Sunday basically on merit. He'd had 10 starts since late April, and the last three starts, four starts weren't very good. So we hoped that he would help us in the bullpen, and unfortunately we're at a point right now when we think it's in our best interest to move forward."