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Duncan, Cabrera get 3 games; Gomes 2

14

March

Update, 4:32 Manager Joe Maddon said the penalties assessed were too close in length given what the Yankees players did compared to what Jonny Gomes did. "That does not make any sense to me whatsoever,'' Maddon said. "What Jon did was reaction to what they had done, and we did not start a thing. I've addressed that point already - they perpetrated the entire situation. And then to have the punishment doled out almost on a similar basis, to me is unjust and it's not right. I'm sure we're going to appeal the situation and see what we can do, but that's the only part about it I'm disappointed in.''

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The discipline from Wednesday's incident with the Yankees look like this:
New York's Shelley Duncan and Melky Cabrera will be suspended three regular-season games and fined, and Rays OF Jonny Gomes suspended two games and fined $2,000. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and coaches Bobby Meacham and Kevin Long were also fined undisclosed amounts.

Duncan, who started the incident with a high and hard slide into second baseman Akinori Iwamura, was disciplined for for "his violent and reckless actions." Cabrera was disciplined for punching Rays 3B prospect Evan Longoria from behind during the benches-clearing melee, which MLB deemed a "violent and aggressive" action. Gomes, who charged at Duncan from rightfield after the slide, was disciplined for his "violent" actions. All suspensions are scheduled to start March 31 but can be appealed and are held in abeyance until a hearing is held.

The Rays didn't seem particularly pleased that the two Yankees only got suspended for one more game than Gomes.

"I don't necessarily think that the actions were equitable to have a suspension be that close,'' Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said, "but it's also not my place to opine on that.''

Gomes said he thought Duncan would get a longer suspension "due to maybe sending a message that there's not room for slides like that in the game,'' but said he had "no problem" with the decision. "But I'm not happy or sad, I don't really care how many games he gets.''

Gomes also said he thought the intent of what Duncan and Cabrera did would be a factor. "Those guys are trying to inflict injuries, those guys are trying to inflict pain, and I don't know how much room there is for that in this game,'' Gomes said. "There's the old "we hit you, you hit us" type of deal, but it's different with spikes high and punches being thrown.''

He also said: "I think they were two totally different acts of what happened. No matter what Shelley wants to say, I think the bottom line is what he did really could have hurt Aki. Whether he was trying to lodge the ball out or not, I don't know. But Aki does have a cut on his leg and he could have really injured Aki. I just went in for an old-fashioned forearm shimmy and I grabbed the guy. Whether I did it or a guy smaller than me did what I did, Duncan wasn't going to get hurt. I was just sending a message.  So one day difference, like I said it's out of my hands, but whatever.''

The Times reported Friday about the Cabrera incident, and that the Rays said there was video evidence even though Cabrera denied being involved. Friedman said he had heard about it but hadn't seen the video yet, but if MLB saw it that way then he was pleased with the decision: "I don't think there's a place for that in one of those incidents at all.''

Friedman said the Rays "stand behind" Gomes and would soon meet to discuss whether he would appeal.

Gomes said he "wouldn't take back what he did" and got considerable positive feedback from other major-leaguers and was happy to send out a message that the Rays had each others' backs.

Players are suspended with pay and can not be replaced on the roster.

Though the Rays made a decision to not have Gomes play against the Yankees on Saturday in Tampa, instead sending him to a split-squad game at Disney, the Yankees will play Duncan against the Rays. (The Yankees also have a split-squad game in Lakeland.)

“I’m trying to move on,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Shelley’s play was aggressive. I don’t think he was trying to hurt anybody. Other people may see it another way. He’s going to have to play against the Devil Rays one day.”

Rays manager Joe Maddon said: "There's no reason to send Jon out over there right now, I think it's the wrong thing to do based on the recent events. He'll get his chance to play against them but for right now until this thing settles down I thought it was the appropriate thing to do.''

Gomes said he had "no problem" going to the Disney game "to let things simmer down" and he hopes the teams can put this behind them.

On Thursday, the Rays said they felt Duncan deserved to be suspended but hoped Gomes would receive a lesser punishment.

Duncan was ejected immediately from Wednesday's game after sliding into second hard and spike-high, leaving Rays 2B Akinori Iwamura with a 3-4'' cut on the inside of his right leg. Gomes then raced in from rightfield to come to Iwamura's defense and charged Duncan, sparking a benches-clearing melee. Gomes was ejected, as were Yankees coaches Bobby Meacham and Kevin Long. During that scrum, the Rays say Yankees OF Melky Cabrera punched Rays 3B prospect Evan Longoria in the back of the head.

At the time, Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Duncan's slide: "What you saw today was the definition of a dirty play. There's no room for that in our game. It's contemptible, it's wrong, it's borderline criminal. And I cannot believe they did that."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has declined to charecterize the play but said he believes Duncan that there was no malicious intent. After the teams had an incident last Saturday in Tampa, Duncan had made some veiled threats of retribution.

The Rays say they hope there are no further incidents, but with the teams playing again Saturday in Tampa, are taking some preventive action, by putting Gomes instead on the split-squad team playing the Braves at Disney rather than against the Yankees.

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[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:34am]

    

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