Cubs’ Contreras banned, Lackey fined
CHICAGO - Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount for what Major League Baseball called “inappropriate actions” during Chicago’s win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Cubs pitcher John Lackey also was fined an undisclosed amount, MLB announced Saturday.
Contreras has appealed the suspension, so he was in the lineup for Saturday’s second game of the three-game series.
Contreras and Lackey were ejected in the fifth inning a day earlier for arguing with home plate umpire Jordan Baker. Lackey thought St. Louis pitcher Carlos Martinez struck out to end the inning, but the pitch was called a ball. Martinez then singled to drive in a run, giving the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
Lackey argued and was ejected. Contreras was ejected a short while later and threw down his mask in anger. It bounced up and hit Baker’s leg.
Contreras, 25, apologized after the game, saying he had no intention of hitting Baker. Maddon is hoping Contreras’ postgame comments will be a factor in possibly reducing the suspension.
“He’s a wonderful young man,” Maddon said. “He is emotional. We’re all working to help him curb that a bit, but you don’t want to take it all away. That’s a big part of why he’s so good.”
Lackey, 38, wasn’t contrite after the game.
“It’s a pretty big spot right there,” he said. “It cost me a big league win. Those don’t grow on trees.”
Maddon was asked if he would speak to Lackey about controlling his emotions — especially considering it caused the Cubs to go to the bullpen in the fifth inning in a game against a team chasing them in the NL Central race.
“It’s impossible,” the manager said. “I mean, honestly. Willson’s in his early 20s, Johnny’s almost 40. He’s a dad with kids and I would never tell him what to do.”
The Cubs activated shortstop Addison Russell before the game, but the 23year-old wasn’t in the starting lineup. Russell had been sidelined since early August with a strained right foot.
“I want to get him involved,” Maddon said. “We’ll see how the game plays out. I need to get him out there somehow.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (right) throws his helmet after being ejected while arguing with home-plate umpire Jordan Baker (center) as St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter looks on in the fifth inning at Wrigley Field on Friday.