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David Ortiz, Kevin Gregg sitting out

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz and Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg, the principals in a July 8 bench-clearing fight, both had their suspensions reduced from four games to three, and both began serving their suspensions Monday night.

Ortiz said he was informed of the reduction by his agent Monday. Ortiz never had a hearing and said he elected not to insist on one.

The only conversation he had with MLB officials regarding the incident, he said, was a casual conversation he had with Joe Torre, the former Yankees' manager who, as executive vice president of baseball operations, now oversees all on-field disciplinary issues.

"He just told me that saying the things I said the next day was the right thing to do," said Ortiz, who had issued a blanket apology for charging the mound and taking a swing at Gregg after the Orioles pitcher barked at him on his way to first base.

Why didn't he pursue it further?

"I didn't want to go over the same things again," he said. "I know what I did wasn't the right thing to do. I knew I was going to be punished. Just want to get over it and get on with the season."

Of the suspension, he said: "This happened. Take it like a man."

Ortiz said he did not believe the decision was made now to avoid a resumption of hostilities between the Orioles and Red Sox, saying the timing had more to do with the All-Star break than anything else.

"MLB has offered to take a three-game suspension and a slight reduction in the fine," Gregg said. "Ortiz and I are both going to sit out this series. That's it."

Gregg was miffed that he got the same amount of time as Ortiz, insisting he was just doing his job -- pitching inside to a good hitter -- and Ortiz overreacted.

"I talked to the league a little bit, I talked to the player's association a little bit," he said. "The bottom line is trying to do what's in the best interest of the team. Just to get things done, to take my time now. I still don't think it's fair that we have the same fine, same suspension, but we're going to move past that point and get on with the season."

Orioles reliever Mike Gonzalez, who appealed his three-game suspension, has not yet heard from MLB officials.

"Kevin had four and I had three," the left-hander noted. "I'm expecting them to at least make it two games or something."

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter has already served his one-game suspension. Showalter and Gonzalez were ejected after the pitcher threw a fastball behind Ortiz in the series finale on July 10.

With Ortiz out of the lineup, manager Terry Francona used Jacoby Ellsbury as his DH, installing Josh Reddick in center between the returning Carl Crawford in left and J.D. Drew in right.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.