Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and Atlanta Braves outfielder Reed Johnson have both been suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for their roles in Wednesday night's bench-clearing brawl between the clubs.
Outfielders Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers and Reed Johnson of the Atlanta Braves have each received one-game suspensions and undisclosed fines for their actions during the on-field incident in the top of the first inning of last night's game at Turner Field in Atlanta. Joe Garagiola, Jr., Senior Vice President of Standards & On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.
The altercation happened just two batters into Milwaukee's 4-0 victory. Gomez, who seemed to be exchanging words with Braves catcher Brian McCann before his at-bat, hit a long home run off pitcher Paul Maholm and subsequently watched his blast fly over the left-center-field fence.
Atlanta players didn't take too kindly to Gomez's preening. He first exchanged words with McCann, then first baseman Freddie Freeman while heading toward second, and shouted at Maholm continuously as he was trotting around the bases.
As Gomez was rounding third base and heading home, McCann met him about 10 feet from the plate. The two were nose-to-nose barking at each other, and soon benches cleared on both sides. Players from each roster threw multiple punches during the scuffle, with the teams spilling back behind home plate. Johnson's was one of the few punches that connected with anyone, hitting Gomez in the head.
Once the fracas finally died down, umpires handed out ejections to Gomez, Freeman and backup catcher Gerald Laird. Neither McCann nor Johnson were ejected for their actions. Laird was only thrown out after arguing as the umpires were trying to resume the game.
Both Freeman and McCann avoided suspensions despite their reaction and roles in the altercation.
After the game, Gomez was initially unapologetic before changing his stance. He claims to have purposely gone overboard with his celebration of the home run, his 23rd of the season, because Maholm hit him in the knee with a fastball back on June 23.
"I did a little bit more [than I should have], and I apologize for this," Gomez said, per MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. "But if you see the replay [from June], they hit me for no reason, and I tried to get it back today. It's the only opportunity that I have, and that's what I did."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez disagreed with Gomez's justification.
"I've never seen anything like it in my baseball career, whether it be the big leagues, Minor Leagues or little leagues," Gonzalez said.
After the game, Maholm also called out Gomez for his unbecoming behavior, suggesting that "he's the last guy who's going to act like that when he hits a homer."
Gomez and Johnson will have the option to appeal their suspensions. They would then be subject to an independent arbitration hearing, where the MLB-appointed Fredric Horowitz can decide whether to reduce or uphold the suspension.
With the Braves and Brewers firmly entrenched in the National League hierarchy, though, it seems unlikely that Gomez or Johnson will appeal.
Atlanta clinched its first NL East title in eight years Sunday, but they're still fighting for the No. 1 overall seed in the National League. They entered Thursday a half game in back of the Cardinals. Milwaukee is 71-87 heading into Thursday's game against the New York Mets, having long been eliminated from playoff contention.
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