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Rays' Peralta appealing eight-game suspension

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 06:31 PM
WASHINGTON -

Rays reliever Joel Peralta said he's OK with the eight-game suspension he received Thursday from Major League Baseball.

However, he did appeal the decision and will be able to pitch until the process is resolved.

"Whatever the league does you've just got to be pleased with it," said Peralta, who was caught during Tuesday's game with pine tar inside his glove but.

"Eight, five, 10 (games), whatever they decide, what are you going to do about it? I'm just pleased that I'm allowed to pitch (Thursday) and try to help the ballclub win one more game here."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he felt the length of the suspension was excessive.

"Of course it's too much, and of course it's unfair," Maddon said. "But that's what they came down with, and it's going to be up to them to try to manipulate it from that, possibly."

There are plenty of cases where suspensions were reduced upon appeal. Angels pitcher Brendan Donnelly, suspended 10 games in 2005 for the same violation, appealed and had it reduced by two games.

"So there is precedent that everybody is aware of that if you do get called on that it's going to be at least in that particular number of days," Maddon said. "We'll just play it out, man. That's what the rules are and we'll play by them."

When asked what he thought might happen upon appeal, Peralta said, "We've got to sit tight and see."

The Rays will be down to a 24-man roster when Peralta does serve the suspension, and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he will sacrifice a bench player to keep seven pitchers in the bullpen. What the Rays could do is wait until Brandon Gomes is eligible to return to the major leagues, which would be June 28 and have Peralta drop his appeal, that is if Peralta hasn't had his hearing by then. A hearing date had not been set as of Thursday afternoon.

Peralta doesn't think it was fair that he was singled out by Washington manager Davey Johnson, who asked the umpires to check Peralta's glove before Peralta faced a batter in the bottom of the eighth inning.

"What they did to me, no, not at all," Peralta said before Thursday's game. "But it's done. So, like I said the other night, good for them, the Nationals, the Washington Nationals and the manager, the pitching coach, whoever did it, I don't know. But good for them, I guess."

Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals in 2010, said he didn't think any of his former teammates tipped off Johnson that Peralta applied pine tar on his fingers while pitching, which is considered using a foreign substance.

"Not at all," Peralta said. "They were such great teammates over there. They approached me (Wednesday) and said they were really sorry about what happened."

Peralta did not pitch for Johnson in 2010, and said there is not any bad history between himself and the Nationals manager.

"I don't know the guy, never talked to him," Peralta said. "I don't know why he did it. I would like to know why, but I'm not going to ask that."

Peralta said he was happy to see Maddon come to his defense so emphatically Tuesday night and again Wednesday.

"I'm always going to be thankful to Joe, because not only me he defends every player he's got here, that's why these guys play so hard for him," Peralta said. "It's one thing I didn't know before I got here, why they guys with the Tampa Bay Rays play so hard for their manager? I kind of knew Joe before but not as a manager, so now I know."

Peralta said he was also glad so many people in baseball, namely former pitchers, came to his defense.

"I'm the type of player I try to get along with everybody, and because it doesn't happen often is why I think that everybody is paying attention to this."


rmooney@tampatrib.com

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