Cueto won’t appeal decision

Published 12:02 am Sunday, August 15, 2010

CINCINNATI — Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto will not appeal the seven-game suspension he was handed by Major League Baseball for his role in a brawl with the St. Louis Cardinals, though second baseman Brandon Phillips wasn’t quite as agreeable.

Phillips, whose description of the Cardinals as “whiners” helped touch off the melee, said he plans to appeal the fine handed to him.

“I think Johnny Cueto should appeal, too,” Phillips said. “Why not? There’s nothing wrong with that. It could go down.”

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Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, who also received a two-game suspension that he started serving Friday, said he discussed Cueto’s options with the pitcher, his agent and general manager Walt Jocketty.

“We decided that, with our pitching situation and the way things are lined up, it was better that he miss jus one start and get one more day than he normally would between starts,” Baker said before Friday’s game against the Marlins. “Maybe it’ll make him better and stronger.”

Cueto was suspended after kicking Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue while pinned against the backstop on Tuesday. Homer Bailey will be activated from the 15-day disabled list and start in Cueto’s place Sunday against Florida.

Bailey has been sidelined since May 24 with inflammation in his right shoulder.

Baker and St. Louis manager Tony La Russa both were fined and received two-game suspensions. Baker did his usual pre-game work on Friday and planned to watch the game from general manager Walt Jocketty’s box as bench coach Chris Speier managed the game.

“There’s a new rule that you can’t watch from the clubhouse,” Baker said. “I guess there was a manager who was suspended and trying to manage from the tunnel and got busted. My choices were watching from the stands, which was impossible, Walt’s box or home.”

Phillips and relief pitcher Russ Springer were the two Reds players who received fines.

The fight started when Phillips did his usual tap of the opposing catcher’s shinguards while settling into the batter’s box for the first time in the game. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and Phillips started exchanging words, Molina took his mask off, and both benches and bullpens emptied to begin a fight that became unusually ugly by baseball standards.

“They did what they did,” Phillips said. “They did what they thought was best, and all you can do is respect what they did. It’s in the past. It’s over. We just need to go out and concentrate on winning.”