Lee drops appeal of suspension

Originally Published: June 24, 2004
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Cleveland Indians left-hander Cliff Lee dropped his appeal Thursday and began serving a six-game suspension for throwing a ball behind Ken Griffey Jr. on June 12.

Lee, who is 7-1 after beating the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night, decided to drop his appeal on the advice of manager Eric Wedge.

With a day off Monday, the Indians will be able to keep their rotation intact without calling up a pitcher from the minors or using a reliever out of the bullpen.

Lee will make his next start July 2 in Cincinnati.

"I think it was extreme, the punishment and stuff, but it's best for the team," Lee said Thursday.

Lee said he thought a more well-known pitcher might not have been punished as harshly.

"I would still like to appeal, but this is best for the team and that's what I'm going to do," he said.

One inning after he gave up Griffey's 499th career homer, Lee threw a fastball that whizzed behind Griffey. Plate umpire Matt Hollowell ejected the left-hander almost as quickly as the ball reached the backstop.

On Friday night, the Indians begin a series at Cincinnati. Lee and the Cleveland pitchers will have to bat because the game is at an NL park.

"I would never try to hit anybody in the head, I wasn't trying to hit him in the head," Lee said.

"If they feel like they need to hit me to make things better, then I'll wear it. Hopefully it's not an issue."

Wedge said "the punishment and suspension were somewhat inevitable" so he suggested that Lee go ahead and start the penalty.

"You have to be wise and try to do what is best for the team. What happened happened," Wedge said. "The punishment is there. We got to live with it."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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