Brewers await word on potential suspensions
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Having to wait another day to see what the punishment will be for his role in a benches-clearing brawl Sunday in Pittsburgh, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez was trying to explain that he had no intention of making trouble.
“I’m not that guy,” said Gomez. “In the heat of the moment, I don’t try to disrespect nobody. Before everything happened, I’m not planning this. ‘OK, I’m going to hit the ball and do this.’ I’m not looking at nobody.
“Ninety-nine percent of my home runs, doubles, I don’t know where the ball is. I ask my teammates, ‘Where is the ball at?’ They say, ‘Is this a joke?’ I say, ‘No, I’m serious, I don’t know.’ Because I don’t look at where the ball is at. I don’t look at the pitcher.
“I run the bases hard like anybody, with my head down. I do that every time. I’m not showing people up. I don’t get sensitive when they strike me out. I don’t say, ‘Hey, why you throw me 98 (mph)? Why you throw me a slider in the dirt?’ Why you throw me the ball at the neck?’
“It’s baseball. When you win, you celebrate. People get sensitive about this stuff. It’s 2014. It’s a game. Just enjoy it. Whoever does the best job in the field is the one that’s going to win games. That’s the only reason we’re here—to win games. It’s not to fight; it’s not for making big deals. It’s to compete. That’s what I like to do, compete.”
The altercation occurred in the third inning when Gomez hit a drive to deep center at PNC Park, tossed his bat aside and took a moment before breaking out of the batter’s box. When the ball caromed high off the wall, Gomez turned on the jets and legged out a triple.
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, standing near third base, said something to Gomez, and Gomez came off the bag and responded. The next thing you know, the benches emptied and Pittsburgh outfielder Travis Snider, who wasn’t in the game, went after Gomez before being decked by a punch from Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado.
Cole said after the game he didn’t curse Gomez, but the audio on replays clearly picks up the pitcher dropping an “F-bomb” on Gomez.
Asked if Gomez should not have gotten so excited, manager Ron Roenicke said, “There’s no way any player is not going to respond to a guy saying something to him, yelling at him right off the bat. There’s no way any player is going to sit there and not say anything.
“Gomey needs to be himself and do what he does. When things happen, yeah, he could be calmer than what he is. After that, sometimes emotions with different guys—and you guys know who the emotional guys are—lead to that.
“We talked about what happened. We’ll leave it at that.”
Gomez was suspended for one game last September for an altercation in Atlanta that he started by woofing at pitcher Paul Maholm while rounding the bases. Catcher Brian McCann met Gomez halfway between home and third base and a benches-clearing situation developed.
Gomez, who buzzed all of his hair off Monday “as a disguise so they can’t find me,” insisted this brawl was not his fault, however.
“Last year was different,” he said. “Last year, I know I do stuff wrong. That’s why I apologized.
“We know it’s not good for baseball. But sometimes stuff happens. It’s not like we want to.”
Gomez was mostly chagrined that his parents called and were unhappy about the incident.
“They don’t want to see something like that,” he said. “I told them I don’t mean to do that. Things happen in the game.”
The Brewers expect both Gomez and Maldonado to draw suspensions. Gomez said he would wait to see what his punishment is before deciding whether to appeal it.
“If I feel like it’s not fair, I’m going to appeal it,” he said. “If they are fair, I’m going to take it.”
The thinking in the Brewers’ camp is that Maldonado could get a bigger suspension than Gomez for coming off the bench and landing a solid punch on Snider. Pirates catcher Russell Martin went as far as suggesting Monday that he would fight Maldonado for charity.
Roenicke took exception at calling Maldonado’s blow a “sucker punch,” however.
“Both sides were heated up,” said Roenicke. “There was a lot of swinging going on. There were a lot of misses going on. He connected, so why is 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 a back-and-forth thing now. We had a tough series, all four games. Both sides are heated and trying to win, and stuff gets emotional.”
Figaro replaces Wooten
With an already busy bullpen overtaxed by the 14-inning game in Pittsburgh, the Brewers called up right-hander Alfredo Figaro from Class AAA Nashville and sent down Rob Wooten. Roenicke said Wooten, who pitched two scoreless innings Sunday, would have gone back down Friday anyway when Brandon Kintzler is due to come off the DL.
“(Wooten) wasn’t available today,” said Roenicke. “He could have pitched an inning tomorrow. So really, we’re just moving it up a little.
“It’s hard when you go 14 innings and already because we’ve been winning we’ve used certain guys a lot. Some guys have pitched a lot.”