Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and Baltimore pitcher Kevin Gregg were suspended four games and fined on Thursday for their parts in a July 8 bench-clearing brawl.
Orioles pitcher Mike Gonzalez was suspended three games, and manager Buck Showalter was suspended one game as part of the punishment handed out Thursday by Major League Baseball. Gregg and Gonzalez have decided to appeal, delaying the suspensions; Ortiz was not immediately available for comment.
”I’ll let the process go out,” said Gregg, who did not reveal the amount of his fine except to say it was ”steep.” ”The four-game is a pretty hefty suspension. I get the right to meet in New York with some people, tell them how it went down, what happened, get to say my side of the story.”
The Red Sox did not play on Thursday, and manager Terry Francona said Ortiz was excused from the team’s workout in St. Petersburg, Fla., to give him an extra day to recover from the All-Star game.
”I know now David has to kind of figure out what he wants to do,” Francona said.
Showalter was to sit out Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians. He was replaced by bench coach John Russell.
”Managers don’t really have any rights to appeal,” Showalter said, adding that he hoped his players’ punishment would be reduced on appeal. ”I think we’ve seen in the past what’s initially handed down and what initially gets served are two different things in a lot of cases. So we’ll let the process play out.”
Gonzalez said he was fined $1,500. Also fined undisclosed amounts in connection with the three-day skirmish: Orioles pitcher Jim Johnson, Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Boston pitcher John Lackey.
The skirmish started when Gregg threw two inside pitches to Ortiz. The Red Sox designated hitter started toward the mound after the second, and players from both benches and bullpens trotted onto the field, but nothing further developed.
Gregg then got Ortiz to pop out and shouted something to the Boston slugger, who charged and met Gregg about halfway between the mound and first base line. Umpire Mike Estabrook ejected Gregg, Ortiz and Saltalamacchia.
Gregg said he was merely protecting himself and questioned the decision to suspend him for the same number of games as Ortiz.
”He actually came out at me twice,” Gregg said. ”I defended myself. To get the same time, suspension, I don’t agree with it. That’s why I am appealing it.”
Ortiz apologized the next day, but in the series finale on July 10 Gonzalez threw a pitch behind Ortiz. Gonzalez and Showalter immediately were ejected. In its statement, MLB said Gonzalez intentionally threw at Ortiz after both sides had been warned.
”I definitely think they need to go back and do their homework,” Gonzalez said. ”I think they need to go back and go through the whole series as opposed to just going through one game and seeing how everything fell into place.”
The teams play again next week in Baltimore.
”We’ve got to concentrate on playing baseball,” Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek said. ”Those things tend to linger on externally more than internally. Both teams will go out and play some baseball games.”