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Smith's suspension reduced to 6 games

Brewers reliever, penalized for foreign substance, begins serving Friday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brewers reliever Will Smith's suspension for a foreign substance was reduced Friday from eight games to six. Smith, who made his appeal to Major League Baseball officials on Monday, was ejected from a game on May 21 for having a mixture of rosin and sunscreen on his arm.

"We kind of hoped going through the process that he [would be] able to get it knocked down a little bit," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's been kind of drawn out. It feels like a long time ago when it happened now and [we've been] kind of waiting and what's going to happen and how's it going to happen, but it got reduced."

Smith's suspension begins with Friday's game against Minnesota. Barring postponements, he will be eligible to return on Thursday. Smith has appeared in 25 games for the Brewers this season, posting a 1.83 ERA.

Smith's 25 appearances are second among Brewers relievers, but Counsell said the team is still in a "good spot" without him.

He was at Target Field on Friday but had to leave after batting practice. He said he would probably watch the night's game from his hotel room.

Baltimore lefty Brian Matusz was handed the same suspension for having a foreign substance on his arm, but unlike Smith, his suspension was upheld Friday.

"Obviously it still sucks being out that long but you break the rules, you've got to do your time, I guess, so we'll do six games and then be back Thursday [for the] first game in Milwaukee," Smith said.

Before Friday's ruling, Smith had said that he forgot to wipe the substance off and had no intent of going out with it on his arm. His main message in the appeal was that the infraction was an accident.

"It was strictly just for grip," he said Friday. We're not trying to hit these guys in the head with 95-mph fastballs. There's more than this game, too. These guys have families and stuff like that and it's a safety issue also."

Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for
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