04/04/08 7:33 PM ET
Gomes serves reduced suspension
Rays learn hours before game that right fielder would be out
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
The first Rays lineup posted in Yankee Stadium's visiting clubhouse showed Gomes batting sixth and playing right field. Moments later, the news broke that he would be serving his reduced suspension, and another lineup was introduced at that point. But the confusion then continued when it was announced that Gomes would serve his suspension Sunday.
When the Rays took the field prior to batting practice, Gomes was a go. But just after Rays manager Joe Maddon met with the media, the news came that Gomes would serve his suspension Friday night.
"It's going to be [Friday night]," said Andrew Friedman, the Rays' vice president of baseball operations. "Clubs aren't involved in this process. So I found out originally from [team spokesman Chris Costello] at about 4:15 [ET]. I took exception to finding out that way and not getting a phone call. Then, Jonny said he talked to somebody at the [players] union, and it was going to be Sunday. And then I just got a phone call from somebody at the Commissioner's Office who said actually tonight was the deal they had agreed to, that's what it is.
"... From our standpoint, it is what it is. It just would have been nice if the process and the communication would have been a little better. But it is what it is."
Friedman explained that Major League Baseball's labor relations department handles such matters with the players union.
"The clubs are never involved in this process when there's a negotiation to reduce it," Friedman said.
Costello received e-mails about Gomes' ever-changing status at 4:10 p.m., 4:50 p.m. and 5:48 p.m.
Originally, Gomes received a two-game suspension, along with a $2,000 fine, for his part in a bench-clearing incident between the Rays and Yankees during Spring Training. Yankees players Shelley Duncan and Melkey Cabrera each received three-game suspensions and fines for their part in the incident, while Yankees manager Joe Girardi, third-base coach Bobby Meacham and hitting coach Kevin Long were also fined for their roles in the incident.
Cabrera and Duncan's suspensions were also reduced by one game. Cabrera is serving his sentence Friday and Saturday, while Duncan will be out on Sunday and Monday.
"I just work here, they make decisions," Gomes said. "I'm fine with it. You know. Whatever happens, happens from the decision I decided to make during Spring Training."
Dioner Navarro moved up to the sixth spot in the order from the eighth spot, and Nathan Haynes took Gomes' place in right field and hit eighth.
"I don't know that it much matters [which day Gomes serves his suspension]," Friedman said. "My preference, I guess, would be to serve it in September when we have our rosters expanded."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.