Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera and manager David Ross both received suspensions and undisclosed fines from Major League Baseball on Thursday. Tepera’s is a three-game suspension that he has elected to appeal, and Ross’ is for one game.
MLB concluded that Tepera intentionally threw a pitch at Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff during the fifth inning of the Cubs’ 3-2 win on Tuesday night. MLB’s Senior Vice President for On-Field Operations Michael Hill made the announcement.
In the fourth inning of that game, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras checked a swing but was hit on the hand by a pitch from Woodruff. It was the seventh time Contreras has been hit by the Brewers in the past two seasons, the most any hitter has been plunked by a single team in that span. The hit-by-pitch followed two others that occurred during the teams’ series at Wrigley Field last week, the first hitting Contreras in the helmet, the second clearing both benches as Contreras showed his frustration on the field.
“It’s obviously not intentional,” Brewers infielder Travis Shaw said after the second incident. “At the same time, he did get hit in the head last night, so I kind of understand some frustration. We’re not trying to hit him. It’s 4-0. But when you get hit in the head the night before and then you get hit again, I can understand the tempers and the frustration.”
Woodruff later had to dance out of the way of a 94 mph pitch from Tepera that flew behind his legs in the bottom of the fifth. Words were exchanged and both benches received warnings, but the game proceeded without any escalation.
“Everybody’s out here doing their best, and [like] I think Willson said, I don’t think anything’s been intentional on either side,” Ross said Wednesday morning. “I think that things do happen, but the frustration does build after a while, and at some point you’re gonna have enough.”
Tepera’s suspension was scheduled to start Friday, when the Cubs begin a series against the Braves, but he elected to appeal. Therefore, his suspension will not begin until after a hearing is held (if the suspension stands).
Ross will serve his suspension on Friday, and he was also fined an undisclosed amount.