MLB issues 2-game suspension to Cubs' Willson Contreras

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was suspended two games and given an undisclosed fine by Major League Baseball for "inappropriate actions" during Friday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, it was announced Saturday.

Contreras threw down his catcher's mask moments after Cubs pitcher John Lackey was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing with umpire Jordan Baker. The mask made contact with Baker's leg, and Contreras was also ejected after confronting Baker.

Contreras has appealed the suspension. He went 1 for 2 with two walks and a run scored in Saturday's 4-1 win against the Cardinals.

"We'll make the best of it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before the game."He's a wonderful young man. He is emotional. We're all working on attempting to help him curb that a bit, but you don't want to take all of it away either. That's a big part of why he's so good. He does play with his hair on fire."

Contreras said Friday that his intention was not to hit anyone.

"I apologize to everybody, to the fans, to MLB, to the umpire," Contreras said then. "I'm sure if I see Jordan [Baker] tomorrow I will apologize to him."

Maddon said Contreras needs to try to curb his emotions "a little bit."

Lackey was also fined an undisclosed amount by MLB for his actions.

With two on and two out in the top of the fifth inning and a 2-2 count on Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez, Lackey threw a slider that looked to be a strike. Even Martinez began to walk back to the dugout, but Baker called it a ball, setting Lackey off.

After a few harsh words, Lackey returned to the mound and his 3-2 pitch was hit into center field for a run-scoring single.

As Lackey ran to back up home plate, he screamed in Baker's face, getting kicked out in the process.

"It's impossible," Maddon said when asked whether he'd ask Lackey to rein in his emotions. "Willson is in his early 20s. John is almost 40. He's a dad with kids. I would never tell him what to do."

Also Saturday, the Cubs activated shortstop Addison Russell off the disabled list, and he paid immediate dividends, hitting a solo home run as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Russell had been on the DL since Aug. 4 because of a right foot strain and plantar fasciitis.

ESPN's Jesse Rogers contributed to this report.

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