Pirates, Brewers face off for first time since fracas
MILWAUKEE -- With the potential of bad blood between Pittsburgh and Milwaukee making Tuesday's game an intriguing one for many onlookers, the Brewers were still awaiting word from the MLB league office on the suspension of outfielder Carlos Gomez after the benches-clearing confrontation in Pittsburgh on April 20.
Gomez, originally docked three games, appealed his case Friday, but it was unclear when a final ruling would be made. He started Tuesday against Gerrit Cole, the pitcher with whom he exchanged words on Easter Sunday to catalyze a benches-clearing brawl.
Gomez has mended fences with outfielder Travis Snider, who emerged from the dugout and rushed into the fracas with Gomez, actions that garnered Snider a two-game suspension. When the two had a chance encounter at a Milwaukee steakhouse Monday, they chatted and shook hands.
"There's no hard feelings," Gomez said before Tuesday's game. "We're all professionals. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see Snider personally. We shook hands and he gave me a hug, and everything is good. There's no hard feelings. … Like I said before, we don't want any player to get hurt from stuff like that. When this happened, it's just a lot of emotion and adrenaline. It's not fun, but it's part of the game and you deal with it."
Gomez also made good with Yankees catcher Brian McCann over the weekend when New York paid a visit to Miller Park. McCann, then a member of the Braves, had a similar confrontation with Gomez in 2013 when he took exception to the outfielder's demonstrative methods during a home run trot.
Though Tuesday marked the clubs' first meeting since Easter, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he had not been contacted by umpires prior to Tuesday's game.
"There's not too many people tied to the game who don't know we're back in Milwaukee," Hurdle said. "Sometimes I've been involved in situations where you get a warning before the game. Other times, they just let you go play and figure things out as you go. I imagine if there's any type of out-of-behavior play, there could be some quick responses to slow things down."
Hurdle didn't sound like a man who anticipated retaliation.
"I expect us to play with emotion and not play emotionally. I think that can take away from your play," he said. "This is a good team we're playing, playing a team in first place. There's enough adrenaline flowing where we're just trying to stay focused on what we can control and beat the Brewers. We don't need to beat them a certain way. We don't need X, Y and Z to happen. We need to stay focused on the job and go from there."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said over the weekend that his club had lodged a complaint with the league office regarding the suspension's potential timing. With Snider's appeal heard and rejected and his suspension served, the Brewers felt it would be unfair for the Pirates to be playing at full strength while the club played without Gomez in a head-to-head setting.