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Umpire Paul Nauert won't be punished for touching Tigers' Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter (Nick Wass/AP Images) Torii Hunter came to Paul Nauert's defense, saying the umpire was only trying to calm him down. (Nick Wass/AP)

Umpire Paul Nauert will not be disciplined for giving Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter what appeared to be a playful slap in a benches-clearing altercation during Detroit's 4-1 win in Baltimore on Monday, according to an ESPN report on Thursday.

Joe Torre, who is the league's vice president of on-field operations, spoke with Nauert on Wednesday, explaining how the incident could be misinterpreted by the public, a league source told Tony Paul of The Detroit News.

"Joe Torre had a good conversation with Paul today," an MLB spokesman said. "We consider the matter closed. Paul will not be disciplined."

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Nauert is a veteran umpire, having been in the big leagues for just shy of 14 years, while Hunter has been a full-time major leaguer since 1999. Hunter said he didn't take offense to Nauert trying to calm him down after the Orioles' Bud Norris hit Hunter with a pitch after giving up a two-run homer to Ian Kinsler in the top of the eighth inning.

The incident can be seen here, via Deadspin.

“That’s my guy,” Hunter said of Nauert on Tuesday. “He was trying to cover my mouth. I’ve known him too long [to be upset]. He was just saying to me, ‘C’mon, T. You’re way better than that.’ And he’s right. I apologize to the fans for my reaction.

"It's nothing to really investigate," Hunter added. "If MLB came to me [to ask about Nauert], I wouldn't even talk to them.

Players and managers can be suspended if they touch an umpire under MLB bylaws, and vice versa.

Hunter and Norris are likely not to receive suspensions for the altercation.

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