Brewers Monday: Gomez focused on moving forward after brawl
The Milwaukee Brewers' Carlos Gomez (left) tries to get past umpire Fieldin Culbreth as Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison tries to get to Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole during the third inning Sunday. A dugouts-clearing brawl ensued.
MILWAUKEE — One day after a benches-clearing brawl with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Milwaukee Brewers weren’t changing their tune on how they felt about the events that led to the incident.
Initially telling reporters he had nothing to say because the incident is in the past, Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez eventually opened up regarding his role in the brawl.
No punishments were handed down Monday, as the New York Post reported the umpires from Sunday’s game were delayed in filing their incident reports due to travel. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke with Major League Baseball executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre on Sunday night to give his version of the events.
"To be honest, I don’t know anything," Gomez said. "I’ve just been watching TV, and the only thing I hear is my dad and my mother talking to me. They don’t want to see something like that. I said, ‘I don’t mean to do that, but things happen in the game.
"We know it’s not good for baseball, but when you have 50 men outside, something can happen. It’s not like we wanted things to happen like that. It is what it is, and we have to move on. That’s in the past."
Gomez went on to describe how he felt this case is different than when he was suspended last season for his role in a fracas with the Atlanta Braves. Gomez stared down a home run he hit off Paul Maholm and shouted at the then-Braves left-hander as he rounded the bases. He did not appeal that one-game suspension and apologized for his actions.
This time around, he feels he doesn’t have anything to apologize for.
"Last year was a different case," Gomez said. "Last year, I know I didn’t start running. That’s why I apologized. Last year, I disrespected the Braves. I’m not that guy. It was the heat of the moment, and I don’t try to disrespect nobody. Before that thing happened, I’m not planning this, like, ‘OK, I’m going to hit the ball and do this.’ It just happened like that.
"I’m not looking at anything. 99 percent of my home runs and doubles, I don’t know where the ball is. Ask my teammates. I ask every time, ‘Where’s the ball at?’ They say, ‘Is this a joke?’ I say, ‘No, I’m serious. I don’t look where the ball is at.’ I don’t look at the pitchers. That’s the way the way I throw the bat when I hit it. And I run the bases hard, like anybody, with my head down. That’s it. People get sensitive over stuff that I do every time. It’s not disrespect. It’s not like I’m showing people up. I’m not going to get sensitive when they strike me out. I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, why you throw me 98? Why are you throwing me a slider in the dirt? Why? Why are you throwing me a ball in the neck?’ It’s baseball.
"It’s 2014. It’s a game. Just enjoy it. Whoever does the best job on the field is the one that’s going to win games. That’s the only reason we are here, to win games. It’s not to go fight, it’s not for complicated stuff. It’s to win and compete. That’s what I like to do, compete."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he didn’t have a change in his thoughts on the ordeal after getting to watch the tape of what happened.
"We saw Carlos do the same thing a lot of their guys did," Roenicke said. "Some things were said that neither one of the sides really wish they would have said. That’s about it.
"Gomey needs to be himself and do what he does. When things happen, yeah, he can be calmer than what he is. But there’s no way any player is not going to respond to a guy saying something to him and yelling at him right off the bat. There’s no way any player is just going to sit there and not say anything."
The Pirates were upset with the punch Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado landed on Travis Snider during the melee, with some Pittsburgh players using the term "sucker punch." Russell Martin told reporters Monday that he would be open to fighting Maldonado in a charity match this offseason, something Maldonado had no comment on.
"Call it what you want to call it," Roenicke said of the Pirates calling it a sucker punch. "Both sides are heated up and there’s swinging going on. There’s a lot of missed swinging going on. He connected, so he’s the one that’s said to have done something wrong. Why’s that different than if somebody else is swinging and hits somebody? If a guy swings and misses, that’s no longer a sucker punch? Both sides are upset about it. Some guys say things. I’m not going to get into the back and forth thing. We had a tough series, all four games."
The Brewers expect discipline to come down Tuesday. Gomez said he will wait to decide whether or not to appeal until he hears what his punishment is.
"Whatever they say, if I feel like it is not fair, I’m going to appeal," Gomez said. "If I feel like it is fair, I’m going to take it."
Lineup change: Roenicke shook up Milwaukee’s lineup Monday, moving shortstop Jean Segura down in the batting order.
Segura was initially slated to hit seventh with Scooter Gennett moving up to the second spot, but left fielder Khris Davis was scratched from the lineup with the stomach flu just prior to first pitch. Mark Reynolds bumped up to the fifth spot, Segura to the six hole and Elian Herrera played left field and hit seventh.
The goal is to take a bit of the pressure of Segura in an effort to get him going at the plate. Segura entered Monday’s game hitting .233 on the season.
"I’m hoping it relaxes him more," Roenicke said. "When you are second, it’s an important spot. You are supposed to be getting on base for three, four and five. When you are not doing it you are pressing. This guy just needs to relax and hit.
"He’s a really good hitter, and I want him to succeed. I talked to him earlier. We’ll see how it works. Hopefully he starts swinging it again."
Maldonado was in the lineup catching Wily Peralta mostly because Jonathan Lucroy caught 14 innings Sunday, but a possible suspension for Maldonado also may have factored into the decision.
If Maldonado is suspended, Roenicke said Elian Herrera would be his emergency backup catcher, with Jeff Bianchi as another option. Herrera was signed as a catcher and caught Brandon Kintzler’s bullpen session Monday.
Kintzler’s bullpen session went well Monday, leaving the reliever on track to return Friday.