Cubs’ Tepera on suspension for throwing at Brewers’ Woodruff: ‘Baseball has become soft’

Ryan Tepera — claiming “no malicious intent” toward Brandon Woodruff — is appealing his three-game suspension and fine.

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Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers

Tepera pitched — and got into trouble — Tuesday in Milwaukee.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Cubs manager David Ross wasn’t even sure where he was going to watch Friday’s game against the Braves. A few hours before the first pitch, he just knew that he had to clear out of the clubhouse area. It only added to his aggravation.

Turns out it’s no fun being suspended — especially when you don’t believe you should be.

Ross was suspended for one game and fined after MLB determined that reliever Ryan Tepera intentionally threw at Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff on Tuesday in Milwaukee. Apparently, it mattered not that Brewers pitchers were repeatedly plunking Cubs catcher Willson Contreras or that Tepera’s pitch to Woodruff was low and didn’t even hit him.

“We threw one behind a guy’s calf, and we’ve got suspensions and fines everywhere? That makes zero sense to me,” Ross said, mixing in an expletive.

Bench coach Andy Green managed in place of Ross, who added that he has had a “hard time understanding a lot of what’s come down” from the league. Tepera — claiming “no malicious intent” toward Woodruff — is appealing his three-game suspension and fine, with a hearing coming as soon as next week, and is available to pitch until then.

“It was just a message that we’d had enough,” he said.

Tepera, too, ripped the league’s punishment.

“To be blunt, today’s game of baseball has become so soft,” he said. “Back in the day, matters were settled on the field — one of many unwritten rules that have changed over time.”

Contreras has been hit 14 times in his last seven games against the Brewers. He has been hit more times than anyone — 19, including once Friday by Braves starter Kyle Wright — since the start of the 2020 season. The Cubs have led the majors in that painful category over that same period.

“We lead the league in getting hit by pitches, and it’s not even close,” Ross said. “And we’ve never intentionally retaliated, to my knowledge.”

J-Hey on Jackie

On Jackie Robinson Day at Wrigley, with players on both teams wearing No. 42 on their backs, Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward drew a link from Robinson to today’s 100-plus-member Players Alliance — a nonprofit organization formed by current and former Black baseball players to create increased opportunities for the Black community.

“It’s amazing that he was able to make the sacrifices he did and continue his character, continue his love for the game and not put himself above that,” Heyward said. “[He did it] for his teammates, of course, but also for the numerous amount of people like myself [whom] he didn’t know it was going to affect. . . .

“He didn’t know the extent. He didn’t know that there would be a Players Alliance here today, unified and trying to rally troops behind good messages and positivity in our communities.”

This and that

Kyle Hendricks, who was scratched from his last scheduled start because he wasn’t feeling well, should be ready to go on Sunday.

• The four players who were on the COVID-19-related injured list in recent days — Jason Adam, Matt Duffy, Dan WInkler and Matt Duffy — have all tested negative for the virus. They were put on the list according to safety protocols after coaches Craig Driver and Chris Young tested positive.

Adam and Duffy appeared in Friday’s game. Ross was hopeful to have Winkler and Workman back in the bullpen on Sunday.

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