Washington – Dressed in sport coat and khakis, and flanked by his manager, general manager, pitching coach and agent, reliever Jonny Venters met with MLB executive vice president John McHale to appeal his four-game suspension on Tuesday afternoon.
The hearing lasted approximately 90 minutes. Venters was given a chance to speak as well as Frank Wren, Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell. Venters reiterated his stance that he did not intend to hit the Brewers’ Prince Fielder on July 17.
He pointed out that the pitch that sailed near Fielder’s head and drew a warning from the umpire was a breaking ball. Venters then hit Fielder with a fastball, and earned an automatic ejection, along with manager Bobby Cox.
“I just said that they could see it looked bad and the circumstances were bad, but I’m not that kind of player to throw at people,” Venters said. “Never have been.”
Braves video coordinator Rob Smith also attended the hearing. Venters said he showed clips of more than 30 pitches Venters had thrown off the plate inside this season, including four that hit batters.
Afterward, Venters could at least chuckle at the high number of wayward pitches.
“Unfortunately there have been quite a few,” Venters said. “Geez, maybe I should address this problem.”
The Braves expect an answer Wednesday or Thursday, Wren said. The best the Braves could probably hope for is that Venters’ suspension is reduced to two games.