An umpire fired by Major League Baseball, was fired after failing a drug test, sources told The Associated Press.
Umpire Brian Runge was fired, and a Triple-A umpire had been promoted, MLB announced on June 14. The league didn’t give a reason for the firing. Only once since 2000 had such a change been made in midseason, and that was because of an injury.
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The umpire failed at least one drug test, then reached an agreement so he could remain on the umpire roster, the sources said. When Brian Runge failed to comply with those terms, he was fired.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because MLB didn't publicly say why Brian Runge was gone.
The AP could not independently determine what drug was involved that led to the umpire's firing.
Joe West, president of the World Umpires Association - the union representing umpires - declined comment Tuesday.
The AP was unable to contact Brian Runge through the umpire union or other umpires.
Chris Conroy was promoted from Triple-A last month to take Runge's umpire spot on the MLB staff. Conroy had worked 267 regular-season games in the majors as a fill-in since 2010 before being hired permanently.
Like players, umpires are subject to random drug tests. Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon, Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal all missed time this season because of drug suspensions imposed last year. In addition, 26 players have been suspended this year under the minor league drug program.
The 43-year-old Runge didn't work in the majors after last Aug. 30 while dealing with a knee injury. He called spring training games this year and later did several Triple-A games, but hadn't been back in the big leagues during the regular season.
Brian Runge joined the MLB umpiring staff in 1999. The umpire worked playoffs three times and last year's All-Star game.
Brian Runge is a member of MLB's first three-generation family of umpires. Grandfather Ed was an American League umpire from 1954-70 and worked the World Series three times; father Paul called National League games from 1973-97 and did the World Series four times before becoming the NL's executive director of umpires.
Brian Runge was behind the plate for a pair of no-hitters last year -- Philip Humber's perfect game and the combo effort by six Seattle pitchers. He also was at third base for Matt Cain's perfect game last season.
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