Travis Snider and Russell Martin lost their appeals to Major League Baseball stemming from suspensions that followed the bench-clearing brawl April 20 with the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park.
Snider began his two-game suspension Friday night and will complete it tonight. Martin, who is on the disabled list, will serve his one-game suspension as soon as he returns to the active roster.
“They are what they are,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “Snider will start [Friday], Russ will start the first day he’s back on the active roster.”
The brawl erupted that Sunday afternoon after Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez hit a deep fly ball in the third inning, flipped his bat and jogged to first base, only to accelerate when the ball bounced off the wall.
That annoyed Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, who had words for Gomez when he reached third with a triple. Gomez shouted back, was restrained by the umpire, and the benches cleared.
Snider, who had a shiner on his left eye and a cut to match after the brawl, left the bench to confront Gomez, and the situation escalated.
He said his appeal was based on his belief that the actions of Gomez — who received a three-game suspension — were far more aggressive than his own.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions and for the punishment that was handed out,” said Snider.
“I don’t sit here as a victim and cry and hope people feel sorry for me. That wasn’t the point of my appeal. The appeal was based on the other people that were involved and the punishment handed out to them.”
Martin, whose role in the brawl was never clear in video replays, said he was told he made contact with an umpire while pursuing Gomez.
“From my understanding, I made contact with the umpire, and that’s illegal so I’ll make sure not to come in contact with umpires,” said Martin.
Martin said he was able to argue his case personally and felt like he was on the TV drama “Suits” for a minute.
“It was a situation where Gomez started swinging and, at that moment, there was a path between the umpire and Gomez,” said Martin. “There was a teammate to my right, an umpire to my left, and I kind of just applied a little bit of force [to get through]. At that moment, I really wasn’t thinking who was to my left or who was to my right.”
Martin said when MLB presented its case they made clear they believed his contact with the umpire was not malicious.
“After the review, I realize that I did move the umpire a little bit. They were, in accordance with me, that it had no malicious intent towards the umpire,” said Martin. “The umpire didn’t want me to apologize. He didn’t feel like I needed to apologize to him. MLB felt the need to suspend me one game because of my actions.”
Martin said he has not heard of a similar suspension.
“I’ll be on the lookout. Next time, there’s an on-field incident I’ll be looking,” said Martin.
Top prospect Gregory Polanco was named the Class AAA Indianapolis player of the month for April. Polanco batted .400 (38 for 95) in April with hits in 19 of 24 games. He reached base in all but two games. Before Friday night, Polanco was hitting .389 with 9 doubles, 3 triples, 4 homers and 28 RBIs in 32 games.
Morel gets the call
Infielder Brent Morel was recalled from Indianapolis Friday, to take the roster spot vacated by pitcher Phil Irwin, who was optioned back to Indianapolis Thursday.
Morel, a right-handed batter, hit .215 with six doubles, a home run, and 11 RBIs in 25 games with Indianapolis this season, playing mostly at third base.
Asked if the club considered a left-handed hitter, Hurdle said they did, but chose Morel.
“This is the move that we felt we needed to make,” said Hurdle. “There’s a lot of other things beside a guy just being a left-handed bat to calling him up. Whether he’s on [the roster] or he’s not, whether you have to create room? Who do you have to designate if you’re going to add somebody who’s not on the roster? … We talked about it all.”
Jenn Menendez: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @JennMenendez