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07/28/09 1:40 AM ET

Hawkins tossed for arguing ball call

Astros righty frustrated by ejection in opener vs. Cubs

CHICAGO -- Astros relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins didn't mince words after being ejected by home-plate umpire Mike Everitt in the eighth inning of Monday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs for arguing balls and strikes.

Hawkins, who flew in from Houston on Monday after undergoing an MRI on his ailing upper back earlier in the day, retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning of a tied game before walking Cubs slugger Derrek Lee.

After ruling Hawkins' second pitch to Aramis Ramirez a ball, Everitt put his hand up to warn Hawkins, who argued the call, from behind the plate. Hawkins continued to talk, and Everitt came out from behind, taking off his mask and warning Hawkins again before ejecting him.

"I thought it was a strike, and I told him, 'C'mon, I need that pitch,'" Hawkins said. "I said, 'He don't need any help,' and he said, 'Knock it off,' and I waved him off and he threw me out of the game. Maybe he was having a bad day. I thought he determined who he wanted to win the game anyway."

When asked if he really believed Everitt had it in for the Astros, Hawkins responded: "I don't know, ask him."

Hawkins has been pitching with a sore upper back for nearly three weeks and has been suffering from shingles. He underwent an MRI in Houston early Monday, but the test was negative.

"They just wanted to be 100 percent sure, but we were pretty sure it wasn't anything structural," Hawkins said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.