Royals’ Cain drops appeal, begins serving two-game suspension

After seeing footage that Major League Baseball has of him throwing the haymaker in a brawl with the White Sox last month, Lorenzo Cain dropped his appeal of a two-game suspension Sunday.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain dropped his appeal of his two-game suspension and will begin serving the ban on Sunday. Cain will be eligible to return May 6 against Cleveland.

Cain was one of four Royals and two White Sox suspended for their roles in an April 23 brawl in Chicago. Edinson Volquez has finished serving his five-game ban. Yordano Ventura is in the midst of his seven-game suspension. Kelvin Herrera’s appeals for a two-game ban and an earlier five-game punishment are still outstanding.

But Cain dropped his appeal on Sunday, saying people told him he had "zero chance of winning." Cain’s hearing was scheduled for Monday.

"They had some good (camera) angles," Cain said. "They had really good angles. It doesn’t surprise me now that I see the videos they sent me."

Cain said the videos showed him throwing a punch inside the fracas that didn’t connect with his target.

"I thought it was a little crowded and they wouldn’t be able to see. They did," Cain said. "When you throw a punch, that’s how it works. You gotta pay the consequences. That’s what I’m doing, two games."

Combined with Monday’s scheduled off day, Cain will not play for three straight days, a welcome rest for the Royals’ everyday center fielder.

"Legs are definitely going to be ready to go when I come back," Cain said. "Three days off? They’re going to feel amazing."

Royals manager Ned Yost agreed with Cain’s assessment and added another plus of serving the suspension now.

"The benefits of it is that it gives him three days," Yost said, "and it gets it behind us."

Guthrie jumps Vargas. Jeremy Guthrie started Sunday for Kansas City, skipping Jason Vargas’ turn in the rotation. Vargas will start on Tuesday against Cleveland instead.

Yost said the decision was primarily a matchup-based one, with the right-handed Guthrie taking on Detroit on Sunday and the left-handed Vargas taking on the Indians.

"Detroit is predominantly a right-handed-hitting team. Cleveland is predominantly a left-handed-hitting team," Yost said. "With the way the off day comes and the suspension, Jeremy’s on his regular day’s rest. So we just flip-flopped them. Tried to give ourselves the advantage against right on right, left on left, or more of an advantage."

Guthrie starts on the normal four days rest on Sunday, while Vargas will be on seven days rest. Excluding season debuts and injuries, Vargas hasn’t pitched on at least seven days rest since September 2012.

You can follow Matthew DeFranks on Twitter at @MDeFranks or email him at matthew.defranks@gmail.com.