CHICAGO — Before fielding any questions on Friday, Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera made something clear: The errant pitch that led to a three-game suspension did indeed have a message behind it.
“There was no malicious intent,” Tepera said. “It was just a message that we had had enough.”
The pitch in question was a 95 mph fastball behind the legs of Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 3-2 win for the Cubs. It led to suspensions and undisclosed fines for Tepera and manager David Ross.
MLB concluded that Tepera intentionally threw at Woodruff in an announcement made by MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations Michael Hill.
Tepera has started the appeal process, so he remains eligible to pitch for the Cubs until the outcome of his hearing. Ross opted to serve his one-game suspension on Friday, but spoke with the media prior to the game against Atlanta.
“It’s just a little confusing, I think, to me, from my seat,” Ross said of the suspensions. “It’s out of my control. I’ve voiced my displeasure to the powers that be. We’ll move on.”
Tepera did what he could to clear up any confusion by acknowledging that, yes, he chose to throw in Woodruff’s direction intentionally. The reason? He felt some of his Cubs teammates had been on the receiving end of too many hit-by-pitches this season and last.
Earlier in Tuesday’s game, catcher Willson Contreras was hit…