Brett Lawrie drops suspension appeal
TORONTO -- Saying he wants to move on, Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie has dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension for throwing a batting helmet that bounced and hit an umpire.
"It's easiest to put this behind me," Lawrie said before Thursday's game against the New York Yankees. "I feel like this is an opportunity for me to end it. Plus, getting it reduced, it was a coin flip. We didn't know if they were going to reduce the games or whatnot. I think it's just easy enough to suck this one up and take these four games and move on."
The 22-year-old Lawrie, in his first full season, was suspended by Major League Baseball on Wednesday afternoon and fined an undisclosed amount for his "aggressive actions" during an incident in the ninth inning of Tuesday's loss to Tampa Bay.
Lawrie was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Miller after complaining about consecutive called strikes. When Lawrie slammed his helmet on the ground, it bounced up and hit Miller on the right hip.
Lawrie initially appealed and played in Toronto's 8-1 win over the Yankees on Wednesday.
Lawrie spoke briefly with Miller before Wednesday's game, apologizing for what happened.
"It was good," Lawrie said. "I just walked in there and said, 'I apologize, I never meant to hit you, I would never do that. I've never done that before, hit anybody with anything.' That's all I said to him, I said, 'My apologies, let's go out there and have a good one tonight.'"
Miller umpired at third base Wednesday, putting him in close proximity to Lawrie, but the two did not speak to one another on the field.
Manager John Farrell said Lawrie's appeal hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday, May 22. Lawrie, Farrell and Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos discussed the hearing following Wednesday's game and decided to drop the appeal, which Anthopoulos called "a distraction."
"Everybody was on the same page," Anthopoulos said of the decision on a Thursday afternoon conference call. "Collectively, it seemed like the right thing to do for the organization."
Yan Gomes, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier Thursday, was scheduled to start at third base against the Yankees on Thursday, making him the first Brazilian-born player to appear in a major league game. Gomes was promoted when Toronto optioned struggling first baseman Adam Lind to Las Vegas.
Known for his abundant energy and exuberance, Lawrie said he would use the suspension to "get my body back to square one," but acknowledged it would be difficult for him to watch from the sideline.
"I'm going to be going crazy walking around," he said.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press