Gary Sheffield suspended four games, still vows revenge vs. Indians

By JOHN LOWE • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • September 23, 2008

Gary Sheffield

January 20, 2011

Gary Sheffield, Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona and two other Indians were suspended Monday by Major League Baseball for the brawl that began in Friday night's Tigers-Indians game when Sheffield charged Carmona. Sheffield didn't appeal his four-game suspension and began to serve it Monday night.

But to Sheffield, the matter is hardly closed.

Moments after he learned that he'd been suspended, Sheffield vowed revenge against the Indians whom he believes punched him from behind in the fracas.

"I've been in a lot of brawls ... where I have been the peacemaker," Sheffield said. "When you get into brawls -- when somebody's back is toward you -- you pull each other apart. That is what you're supposed to do. But when guys take cheap shots, I take that personal.

"When I find out who they are, they are going to have to deal with me."

In what form?

"Don't worry. You'll see. I'm not one of those guys to sit there and talk about what I'm going to do. I'm just going to do what I'm going to do."

The next Tigers-Indians game is scheduled for May 1 next season at Comerica Park. The teams likely won't play in the exhibition season because the Indians have moved their training base to Arizona.

Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera might be whom Sheffield decides hit him from behind. The tape of the brawl clearly shows Cabrera swinging his glove at Sheffield as Sheffield is enmeshed with Carmona, whom he charged from first base.

Bob Watson, the disciplinarian for baseball, said he believes Cabrera did something amiss in the brawl because he suspended him for three games. Watson also suspended Carmona for six games and catcher Victor Martinez for three games.

Carmona and Martinez appealed their suspensions; Cabrera hasn't decided if he will (his suspension isn't due to start until Thursday). All three declined to comment on their suspensions. Indians manager Eric Wedge told reporters, "I'm not surprised there were suspensions, but I didn't think Vic and Asdrubal would get three games."

Watson didn't immediately return a call seeking an explanation for the Cabrera and Martinez suspensions. Martinez yelled and gestured at someone -- perhaps Sheffield -- after the brawl had died down but before the players left the field. That might be why he was suspended.

No other Tigers were suspended.

Sheffield didn't seem concerned about any fine he might now receive for saying that one or more Indians would have to "deal with" him.

"I don't care (anything) about what the league thinks or what they do," Sheffield said. "I've got enough money to cover any fine they've got, trust me."

He said that if anyone messes with him, "It's on. It will never end until I get you. I told you from Day One. I don't mess with (anybody). I don't bother anybody. But when you bother me, it's on. Trust me."

Players often appeal suspensions in the hopes of getting them reduced by a game or two. But as Sheffield made clear, it makes sense for him to serve the suspension now.

If Sheffield had appealed, he would have been in jeopardy of having to serve the suspension at the start of next season. Under the rules of baseball, the Tigers couldn't have replaced him on the 25-man roster.

He can serve it now with the Tigers out of the postseason race and with plenty of reserve players on hand because of the annual September roster expansion.

Willis starts again: Manager Jim Leyland said that Dontrelle Willis is due to start Saturday against Tampa Bay in the second-to-last game of the season.

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