Ortiz, Gregg get 4 games and fines for brawl

The Associated Press
Posted July 14, 2011, at 6:10 p.m.

BOSTON — Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and Baltimore pitcher Kevin Gregg were suspended four games and fined on Thursday for their parts in a July 8 bench-clearing brawl.

Orioles pitcher Mike Gonzalez was suspended three games, and manager Buck Showalter was suspended one game as part of the punishment handed out Thursday by Major League Baseball. Gregg and Gonzalez have decided to appeal, delaying the suspensions; Ortiz was not immediately available for comment.

“I’ll let the process go out,” said Gregg, who did not reveal the amount of his fine except to say it was “steep.” “The four-game is a pretty hefty suspension. I get the right to meet in New York with some people, tell them how it went down, what happened, get to say my side of the story.”

The Red Sox did not play on Thursday, and manager Terry Francona said Ortiz was excused from the team’s workout in St. Petersburg, Fla., to give him an extra day to recover from the All-Star game.

“I know now David has to kind of figure out what he wants to do,” Francona said.

Showalter was to sit out Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians. He was replaced by bench coach John Russell.

“Managers don’t really have any rights to appeal,” Showalter said, adding that he hoped his players’ punishment would be reduced on appeal. “I think we’ve seen in the past what’s initially handed down and what initially gets served are two different things in a lot of cases. So we’ll let the process play out.”

Gonzalez said he was fined $1,500. Also fined undisclosed amounts in connection with the three-day skirmish: Orioles pitcher Jim Johnson, Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Boston pitcher John Lackey.

The skirmish started when Gregg threw two inside pitches to Ortiz. The Red Sox designated hitter started toward the mound after the second, and players from both benches and bullpens trotted onto the field, but nothing further developed.

Gregg then got Ortiz to pop out and shouted something to the Boston slugger, who charged and met Gregg about halfway between the mound and first base line. Umpire Mike Estabrook ejected Gregg, Ortiz and Saltalamacchia.

Gregg said he was merely protecting himself and questioned the decision to suspend him for the same number of games as Ortiz.

“He actually came out at me twice,” Gregg said. “I defended myself. To get the same time, suspension, I don’t agree with it. That’s why I am appealing it.”

Ortiz apologized the next day, but in the series finale on July 10 Gonzalez threw a pitch behind Ortiz. Gonzalez and Showalter immediately were ejected. In its statement, MLB said Gonzalez intentionally threw at Ortiz after both sides had been warned.

“I definitely think they need to go back and do their homework,” Gonzalez said. “I think they need to go back and go through the whole series as opposed to just going through one game and seeing how everything fell into place.”

The teams play again next week in Baltimore.

“We’ve got to concentrate on playing baseball,” Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek said. “Those things tend to linger on externally more than internally. Both teams will go out and play some baseball games.”

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are coming out of the All-Star game with encouraging reports on pitcher Josh Beckett and outfielder Carl Crawford.

Crawford is set to return from a strained left hamstring on Monday, Francona said during Boston’s off-day workout Thursday. Crawford will begin a two-game minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.

“He’ll travel on Sunday to Baltimore and barring any setbacks” rejoin the Red Sox when they open a three-game series against the Orioles, Francona said.

Beckett was scratched from the All-Star game after feeling soreness in his left knee while warming up in the bullpen. The right-hander remains scheduled to start Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay.

Also, lefthander Jon Lester, sidelined because of a strained muscle in his back, played catch in Boston at 60 feet.

Beckett went just five innings in his last start against Baltimore July 8 after he slightly hyperextended his knee on the wet mound at Fenway Park.

“I’m pretty confident he’ll pitch Sunday,” Francona said. “If for some reason he can’t, we’ll back him up a couple days. I’ve got a feeling that’s going to the worse-case scenario, which is good. I don’t think that is going to happen.”

Beckett is scheduled for a bullpen session Friday.

Also, lefthander Jon Lester, sidelined because of a strained muscle in his back, played catch in Boston at 60 feet.

“All went really well,” Francona said.

NOTES: The Red Sox signed their second-round draft pick, OF Williams Jerez, and assigned him to their Gulf Coast League rookie-level club. Jerez is a former member of Hank’s Yanks, an 18-and-under baseball team sponsored by New York Yankees’ co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner. He hit .692 this season at Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus High School.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/14/sports/ortiz-gregg-get-4-games-and-fines-for-brawl/ printed on November 26, 2014