MLB hands out Pirates, Brewers suspensions for Sunday's brawl

Pirates outfielder Travis Snider and catcher Russell Martin will appeal suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball for their roles in a benches-clearing brawl that marred Sunday’s Pirates-Brewers series finale at PNC Park.

Snider was suspended for two games and Martin for one. Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado was suspended five games and outfielder Carlos Gomez for three.

All four players also were fined by MLB, but the amount was not disclosed.

“I think the penalties need to fit the crimes,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “If Russ got one, Snider got two [for] what they did and Gomez got three, the other guy got five. Do the math. Watch the video. That’s the part we’re trying to work through to make sense of it all.”

Gomez will appeal his suspension, but Maldonado accepted his, according to the Brewers.

The suspensions were handed down just before 3 p.m. Tuesday prompting a meeting with Hurdle, general manager Neal Huntington, Snider and Martin to discuss options.

Hurdle said Snider made the decision to appeal.

Martin said so himself: “I’m definitely appealing.”

Both players were in the lineup Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

MLB offered no specific explanation for the reasoning behind the number of games each player was suspended, but released a general statement.

“The players have been suspended for their aggressive actions during the bench-clearing incident,” read the statement by Joe Garagiola Jr., senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for MLB. “If a player chooses to appeal, then his suspension will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.”

The fracas was set off Sunday in the third inning when Gomez hit a deep fly ball that he later said he thought would be caught. Gomez flipped his bat and jogged to first base only to accelerate when the ball bounced off the wall. He ended up with a triple.

Pitcher Gerrit Cole then had words for Gomez when he reached third base to back up the play. Gomez took exception, shouted back and approached Cole before he was restrained by third-base umpire Jim Reynolds.

That’s when the benches cleared. Snider confronted Gomez and things escalated with Snider shoving Gomez, who fell to the ground.

Snider, who spoke Monday, said his instinct was to protect Cole.

“When I saw Carlos Gomez take his helmet off and push the umpire to the side, acting like he’s physically going to do something to our pitcher, who said something to him and walked away, that’s when I’m going to leave the bench,” Snider said. “I’m going to protect my teammates.”

He added that Gomez did not say anything to him, but took off his helmet and started swinging.

Shortly after, Snider was held back by Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks, then punched in the left eye by Maldonado.

That left Snider defenseless, the Pirates argue, and prompted Martin to challenge Maldonado to an offseason fight for charity.

Martin’s role in the brawl is less clear, but he approached Gomez with Snider before a mass of bodies made his role difficult to decipher on video replays.

“We’re not going to say that we’re ever going to condone players getting on the field and fighting,” Hurdle said. “Can it happen? Yes. Do appropriate measures need to be taken when there is a fight, or punches thrown, conduct with an umpire? None of that are we condoning by any means. We just want to make sure the punishment and the crime match up.”

Hurdle said he remembers being involved in similar incidents in his playing career in the 1980s and doesn’t recall fines being levied.

He does remember a time when former Angels star Don Baylor and a teammate beat up his team in a game in Kansas City.

“They beat up our whole team. I know a bunch of us were sore and bruised the next day,” Hurdle said. “That’s a true story. Pretty much.”

Huntington had a lengthy conversation with Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations, and Hurdle said he planned to speak with Torre today .

“They’ve gone through the video. And when they hand down the ruling, it’s handed down,” Hurdle said. “You go to the appeal process.”

If a player appeals his suspension — and it is upheld — he would serve it when the process is complete.

First Published April 22, 2014 2:26 PM

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