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Cubs say Peavy’s comments about Soriano are mitigating factor
San Diego padres pitcher Jake Peavy screams after giving up consecutive doubles and letting in three runs after two were out in the seventh inning of the baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in San Diego, Thursday, June 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

CHICAGO (MCT) - Should Jake Peavy's incendiary comments about Alfonso Soriano be considered in Major League Baseball's disciplinary action for Saturday's fight? | Brawl photo gallery

The Cubs think so, but San Diego manager Bud Black said Peavy's words are irrelevant.

What will happen now is up to the judge, in this case, MLB disciplinarian Bob Watson.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry spoke to representatives from Major League Baseball twice Sunday but received no word on when or for how long Derrek Lee will be suspended for Saturday's fight with San Diego right-hander Chris Young.

The Cubs have yet to see the umpires' report, though crew chief Gerry Davis said Saturday they did not think Young had hit Lee intentionally. Davis said he was aware of Peavy's comment about Soriano's moonwalk after Friday's homer, when the Padres' ace said that if "a player shows me up like that, I like the next guy to take one in the stinking ribs. That way, his teammate will let him know about it."

"We have to be aware of those situations, and we were," Davis said Saturday. "We have to determine if we feel those types of things are intentional or not. We didn't feel that Young's pitch was intentional, but after that, because of the melee, obviously we issued warnings after that."

No warnings were issued Sunday, but the Cubs were still livid over Peavy's comments about Soriano and believe it's the smoking gun in their argument for a lighter sentence for Lee.

Black said he would be surprised if Young was suspended and doesn't believe he will be disciplined. He also said it was "shocking" that Peavy was ejected for trying to pull Lee off another player.

Asked if Peavy's comments were relevant to MLB's investigation of the incident, Black said: "First of all, Young didn't throw at Derrek Lee. I'll say that right out. And it doesn't make sense to me. If Soriano said something, why would we throw at Derrek Lee?"

Perhaps because Peavy said he would hit "the next guy," and Lee would be the proverbial "next guy" Peavy was referring to?

"I don't think so," Black said.

Lee fully expects a suspension but is hoping it's short.

"It's just the consequences of it," he said. "Things unfortunately happened, and suspensions are a part of that. I just have to deal with it. Hopefully it's not too bad."

Lee is expected to appeal any suspension. It could range from five to 10 games, depending on what factors Watson takes into account. Piniella said he hopes Lee's reputation as a solid citizen in the baseball community will help reduce the penalty.

"It should," he said. "But we'll see. I don't know what the league's thinking is, but I know they don't like fights and are trying to eradicate that from the curriculum."

Soriano said he was just watching his home run to see if it was going to go foul. He was surprised the Padres were so upset about him backpedaling out of the box with his bat in the air, watching the ball land on Waveland Avenue.

"Just play the game and have fun," Soriano said. "It's not liked I killed someone."

Peavy told MLB.com that Soriano's showboating had nothing to do with Saturday's incident.

"I've got good buddies on the other side," Peavy said of the Cubs. "Michael Barrett is one of my very good friends. And Derrek Lee, I've known him pretty well. I spoke to both of them (Saturday). Now it's in the league's hands."

Asked about Soriano's alleged showboating, Piniella said he didn't see it. But when asked if he cared about such player celebrations in general, Piniella replied: "You don't like to see showboating. I'm not saying he was, but just hit the ball and touch the bases and high-five your teammates."

Then again, Piniella doesn't mind players who like to watch.

"There's nothing wrong with watching a homer," he said. "A few opponents we've played this year have watched their homers, too, and we haven't said anything about it."

Some Cubs were surprised Young was involved.

"I can't even believe that happened," Mark DeRosa said. "I played with Chris Young in Texas. I know what his makeup is. The guy is a Princeton grad and probably one of the nicest guys I've ever met. For those two to go at it kind of surprised me, but stuff happens in the heat of the moment."

Black said he doesn't know what will happen, but he did agree that the MLB hearing would make for riveting television on "Court TV."

(c) 2007, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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