Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera suspended 3 games for throwing at Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff; manager David Ross gets 1-game ban

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Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read
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Major League Baseball on Thursday punished Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Tepera for a pitch he threw behind Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff.

Tepera received a three-game suspension for what MLB called “intentionally throwing” at Woodruff in the fifth inning Tuesday at American Family Field in Milwaukee. Tepera, who was given an undisclosed fine, is appealing the suspension. He will remain available in the Cubs bullpen until the appeal process is completed.

MLB also suspended manager David Ross for one game, which he cannot appeal, and fined him an undisclosed amount. Ross will serve his suspension Friday, when the Cubs play host to the Atlanta Braves in the opener of a nine-game homestand at Wrigley Field.

One inning after Woodruff hit catcher Willson Contreras on his fingers — the seventh time in 14 starts against the Brewers since the start of last season — Tepera uncorked a first-pitch, 94.7-mph sinker behind Woodruff’s knees. It prompted plate umpire Mike Estabrook to issue warnings to both teams. Woodruff clearly was unhappy.

“That caught me off guard. I didn’t know anything about it,” Contreras said of Tepera’s pitch after the game. “I was trying to calm (Woodruff) down because I know how it feels to be thrown at, and we had a good conversation. The warnings were made, and thankfully we finished the game in a good mood.”

Contreras again expressed frustration Tuesday at continuing to be hit. He said he was fined $7,500 last week for violating COVID-19 protocols following his reaction on April 6 to another hit by pitch from a Brewers pitcher.

It marked back-to-back games Contreras was hit with a pitch during last week’s series at Wrigley Field. Brewers reliever Devin Williams hit Contreras in the head, though he was able to stay in the game. Then reliever Brad Boxberger drilled him in the arm the next night. The latter on April 6 resulted in both benches emptying as a heated Contreras yelled at Boxberger and the Brewers dugout while holding up two fingers.

Contreras got the last word in Tuesday’s win with his go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning. He didn’t hold back his emotions, emphatically tossing his bat toward the Cubs dugout and twice shushed Brewers fans as he rounded the bases.

“It feels good to shut up people,” Contreras said. “If you want to boo me, boo me. I don’t really care. But don’t get sensitive when I do something like that. That’s something they have to understand. It is a game. ... After tonight we sent a message: They picked the wrong guy to throw at. That was a message sent.

“There’s a lot more games coming up. Who knows what’s going to happen.”