NEW YORK — Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez admitted he went too far with a hyped-up home run trot that ended in a benches-clearing scuffle against the Atlanta Braves.
Gomez was suspended Thursday along with Atlanta’s Reed Johnson for one game by Major League Baseball for their actions during the Brewers-Braves game a day earlier. Both players were fined an undisclosed amount.
Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman and catcher Brian McCann also were fined for their involvement.
Gomez accepted the penalty and sat out the series opener against the New York Mets on Thursday. Johnson was contemplating an appeal, according Braves general manager Frank Wren.
“I was expecting it after what happened last night,” Gomez said. “It’s not good for baseball. Just take it like a man and be responsible for the stuff I did.”
Batting second for the Brewers on Wednesday night in Atlanta, Gomez connected on Paul Maholm‘s 0-1 pitch in the first inning for a long homer to left-center field. Gomez, slammed his bat down and admired the drive in the batter’s box before starting a slow trot while shouting at Maholm. Freeman had words for Gomez as he rounded the bag.
Gomez continued shouting toward Maholm, and he pointed at his leg just before he rounded third base — Maholm hit Gomez in his leg with an 88 mph fastball on June 23.
An irate McCann, catcher’s mask resting atop his head, greeted Gomez about 20 feet in front of home plate. Benches and bullpens then emptied, and Johnson, a reserve outfielder, raced out of the dugout and shoved Gomez. Gomez, Johnson, Freeman and reserve catcher Gerald Laird were ejected.
“It was such an unusual situation. Every time you get in a situation like this, in hindsight, there’s probably things you wish you would have done differently, and I would say our players probably feel that way as well,” Wren said before the Braves hosted the Phillies. “But I think the reaction was probably appropriate for the situation. It was one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen.”
Gomez never finished his trot but was awarded his 23rd homer because of obstruction by McCann.
McCann was furious at Gomez for yelling on his way around the bases, and the catcher stood by his actions on Thursday.
“I thought he showed up our whole team,” McCann said. “I did what any catcher would do in that situation — sticking up for his team.”
After the game, Gomez was contrite and he apologized again Thursday.
“I apologize to people from MLB, to my teammates, my team, the organization and the Braves,” he said. “It’s not really fun when everything happened like that.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was satisfied with Gomez’s apology and was hopeful that the incident wouldn’t hinder the NL East champion Braves’ final push for best record in the league.
“I don’t want out actions to hurt what the Braves are doing.” Roenicke said.
Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez aggravated a left knee injury during the scrum and was not in the lineup Thursday.