Cubs’ Con­tr­eras banned, Lackey fined

The Arizona Republic - - SPORTS -

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.”

MATT MARTON/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

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.

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