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Blake still steamed about rubber controversy

Blake still steamed about rubber controversy

DENVER -- One day after the controversy, the Dodgers were still steamed, not so much with Ted Lilly's repeated violation of the rule about a pitcher making contact with the rubber, but with the umpire's crew failure to enforce it.

Casey Blake, who called the Cubs pitcher a cheater, was angry with the umpires, particularly first-base ump and crew chief John Hirschbeck, and clubhouse television replays clearly showing the infraction only further agitated the Dodgers.

"Ted knows what he's doing," said Blake, "and I don't hate him for trying. Why not, if the umpires won't say anything? If I was a pitcher, I'd do it every time."

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After the game, Hirschbeck said he couldn't see if Lilly was off the rubber from where he was standing and wasn't going to move. Third-base umpire Wally Bell said, "I looked. He was fine."

But Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa said Bell conceded to him that Lilly was off the rubber. First-base coach Mariano Duncan said he pointed it out to Hirschbeck three innings before Blake's sixth-inning run-in that Lilly was moving as much as six inches in front of the rubber on alternating pitches. Blake said he still doesn't understand why one of the umpires didn't say something to Lilly.

"I've seen pitchers do it, and they just get reprimanded," said Blake. "I've seen umpires tell the pitcher to get on the rubber. I've seen them move to get a look. So if they're not going to call it, every pitcher should do it.

"I wanted to talk to John after the game to apologize, but if it's that blatant, am I not supposed to say something? What's to keep every pitcher from being four or five inches in front of the rubber?"

Dodgers manager Joe Torre didn't seem interested in taking the complaint to the Commissioner's Office.

"I'm sure Major League Baseball watches those shows too. They'll see it," he said. "I'd be surprised if there isn't some kind of recognition for it. I like Teddy. He played for me. Was it inadvertent? I don't know about that. There's not much you can do about it. If we face him again, it'll be like a warning with knockdowns situation, and we'll take a look at it."

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