Venters and Cox suspended
Major League Baseball didn’t buy Jonny Venters’ claim that he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder during Saturday’s eighth inning at Turner Field.
Venters has been handed a four-game suspension and levied with a fine for an undisclosed amount. Bobby Cox has also been given a one-game suspension for what MLB described as “the intentional actions of Venters after a warning had been issued to the pitcher following the first intentional pitch thrown at Fielder.” <p>
For those needing a reminder, Fielder hit a game-tying homer off Tim Hudson in the seventh inning. When he came to bat to open the eighth, Venters threw a first-pitch slider over his head. This prompted Angel Hernandez to issue warnings to both benches.
When Venters followed with a fastball that drilled Fielder in the back, he and Cox were both ejected.
After the game, Venters said he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Fielder. Cox uttered this same belief in what seemed to be with what seemed to be a believable tone. In other words, there wasn’t any indication that this was one of those instances where he was trying to quickly cover something up.
MLB vice-president of on-field operations Bob Watson obviously didn’t buy these claims.
Cox will serve his suspension during Tuesday night’s series opener against the Padres. Venters will likely appeal his suspension, which would allow him to serve it at a later date.
With left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty on the disabled list, the Braves can’t afford to go into this series without Venters, who ranks fourth among NL relievers with a 1.25 ERA.
There was reason to believe the Brewers would attempt to gain some retribution and some Braves believe they did during Sunday’s sixth inning when both Jason Heyward and Troy Glaus were hit with pitches.
If Manny Parra was supposed to hit Heyward, he likely needed to explain himself after simply grazing the rookie outfielder’s right thigh. Later David Riske drilled Troy Glaus on the left thigh with a 2-0 fastball that loaded the bases and marked the third of his seven consecutive pitches that missed the strike zone.
“We weren’t trying to hit Prince, but at the same time it looked bad,” McCann said Sunday.”Obviously their whole team thought we were trying to hit him. Things like happen. They hit a couple of our guys today. But it’s over with. No harm was done and that’s how you play the game of baseball.”