Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera said he had no “malicious intent” in throwing behind Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff on Tuesday.
“It was just a message that we’d had enough,” Tepera said Friday in a pregame Zoom press conference.
Major League Baseball issued Tepera a three-game suspension and undisclosed fine, after determining Tepera had intentionally thrown at Woodruff. Tepera is appealing the suspension. Tepera said he believes the hearing will take place in about a week. Any discipline will be held until after the process is complete.
Cubs manager David Ross also received a one-game suspension for the same incident, which he’s serving Friday as the Cubs take on the Braves.
“I believe over time, baseball has changed,” Tepera said in an opening statement. “And to be blunt, today's game of baseball has become a bit soft. Back in the day, matters were settled on the field, one of many unwritten rules that have changed over time.”
Tepera threw a pitch behind Woodruff, about knee-high, in the fifth inning of the Cubs’ 3-2 win at Milwaukee on Tuesday. The inning before, Woodruff had thrown up and in to Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, hitting him on the hands. Including that hit by pitch, Contreras had been hit seven times his past 14 starts against the Brewers.
“I feel that typically it doesn't bode well in the clubhouse when guys are consistently being thrown at,” Tepera said. “… At the end of the day, all I can do is sit here and be myself, continue to support my teammates and have their backs, and play the game I know and love.”
Tepera said his suspension surprised him.
“To me," he said, "there's really no justification for a suspension and fine."