NEW YORK, June 20 -- As was the case with Albert Belle and Julian Tavarez of the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers catcher Mike Matheny had his five-game suspension reduced to three games on Thursday. Matheny officially dropped his appeal and his suspension was scheduled to begin Thursday night when the Brewers open a four-game series at home against California.
Matheny was originally suspended five games by American League president Gene Budig for charging Tavarez and precipitating the benches- clearing incident that followed in the May 31 game. Belle and Tavarez Tuesday had their five-game suspensions reduced to three games stemming from incidents in the May 31 game. Belle and Tavarez each appealed their suspensions and met last week with American League President Gene Budig while in New York to play the Yankees. Budig suspended Belle because he believed the slugger threatened injury with an apparent forearm to the face when he knocked over Milwaukee second baseman Fernando Vina while attempting to break up a double play. Belle was hit by a pitch from Brewers reliever Marshall Boze in the eighth inning and Eddie Murray hit a grounder to Vina, who attempted to tag Belle. Belle caught Vina off-guard with a hard hit, knocking him to the ground. The two exchanged words as Belle jogged off the field and the collision left Vina with a bruised nose. Tavarez threw a ball behind Matheny in the ninth inning. Matheny charged the mound and the benches emptied. During the fracas, Tavarez became entangled with umpire Joe Brinkman and slammed the umpire to the ground.