Brett Lawrie called it an ''unlucky bounce.'' Major League Baseball is likely to call it a suspension.
A furious Lawrie slammed his batting helmet to the ground after he took strike three and it struck plate umpire Bill Miller in the hip as the ninth inning turned nasty Tuesday night in Toronto's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
''That was not my intention at all,'' Lawrie said. ''I've never, ever done anything to go at an umpire before in my life, and I didn't mean to tonight. I apologize for that.
''It's just my passion for the game,'' he said. ''I wanted to help my teammates out as best I could. That's the pride I have in this game. I leave my emotions out on the field.''
Miller was later hit by a drink thrown by a fan while walking off the field after the game.
The trouble began with one out in the ninth and Lawrie trying to work a walk off Rays closer Fernando Rodney. On a 3-1 pitch, Lawrie started toward first base but was stopped short as Miller called strike two. Rodney stared in...