Baltimore — New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez reluctantly began serving a reduced three-game suspension Monday after appealing his punishment for participating in a brawl against Detroit.
Sanchez was originally suspended by Major League Baseball for four games.
“In a way I feel good about it, and then on the other hand I don’t feel good about it, because I’m going to be unable to help my team in these important games,” he said through a translator.
Sanchez will miss New York’s three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, who began the day 3½ games behind the Yankees in the AL wild-card race.
“Obviously, this is an important time for us. Obviously, we don’t want to miss him at all,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “But again, it’s better than four. And taking one game off could be really important for us. So the next three days we’ll be without him, and we’ll have to deal with it.”
The suspension stems from the Aug. 24 game against the Tigers. Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle threw behind Miguel Cabrera in the sixth inning, and Kahnle was ejected.
But before play resumed, Cabrera and New York catcher Austin Romine scuffled near home plate. Sanchez, the designated hitter, left the bench and punched both Cabrera and Nick Castellanos.
“That’s something that happened. You can’t turn time around, you can’t go back in time,” Sanchez said. “It’s in the past.”
Romine has appealed his two-game suspension. He was in the starting lineup Monday and will likely retain the starting role until Sanchez returns.
“I think that you’re allowed to stagger suspensions, and I’ve seen it in the past,” Girardi said. “So I’m not too concerned about that.”
Cabrera was suspended for seven games, though it was reduced to six following appeal.
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