Yadier Molina suspended five games

MIAMI -- St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina decided not to appeal a five-game suspension for bumping an umpire and spraying him with spittle, saying the punishment was fair.

The Cardinals' schedule and Molina's sore hand made the decision easier to sit out now.

Molina received the suspension Thursday and began serving it hours later when St. Louis opened a four-game series at Florida. The Cardinals are chasing the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers and face them in a crucial three-game series beginning Tuesday.

Molina will return from his suspension Wednesday.

"I was looking at it like, take it right away," he said. "You want to be part of the race. It's better to do it now and get it done with and move on."

Another factor in the decision not to appeal was the bruise on the palm of Molina's right hand. The injury occurred when he blocked a pitch Wednesday, and he said it likely would have kept him out of two or three games anyway.

Molina said the spittle was unintentional but apologized for his tantrum. Along with the suspension, he was fined an undisclosed amount.

He became incensed after getting called out on strikes by plate umpire Rob Drake in the 10th inning Tuesday night in Milwaukee. After being ejected, Molina kept bumping his chest into Drake, and some spit flew into the umpire's face during the dispute.

"I'm sorry about it for our fans, the people in St. Louis and our organization," Molina said. "That's not me. I'm a good guy. I was caught up in the moment. That's what happens when you're caught up in the race and trying to win. I didn't handle it the right way."

Manager Tony La Russa had no quarrel with the length of the suspension.

"Yadier was very animated, and he bumped him," La Russa said. "You're going to get hit for that. I hope the number didn't reflect the spitting, because I know he didn't do it on purpose."