Venters has hearing on suspension

Venters has hearing on suspension

WASHINGTON -- Braves reliever Jonny Venters had the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by Major League Baseball officials at Nationals Park on Tuesday afternoon, and Venters expects a ruling to be handed down by Wednesday.

Venters was handed the suspension after throwing at Milwaukee's Prince Fielder with two consecutive pitches, and hitting the Brewers slugger in the back with the second, in a July 17 game. Venters has maintained that both pitches got away from him and he had no intention of hitting Fielder.

"All I can say is that I didn't do it on purpose," said Venters. "Hopefully, they can see I'm not that kind of player."

Venters spoke at the hearing, as did Braves manager Bobby Cox, pitching coach Roger McDowell and general manager Frank Wren. Cox was issued a one-game suspension as part of the incident, because Venters' ejection came after both benches had been warned.

"It was kind of what I expected," Venters said. "It was like being in court -- two sides and [Major League Baseball] hearing both sides. Hopefully they see what really happened, not what it looked like happened."

Said Wren: "We were heard. Everyone had a chance to speak up. ... Now it's in the hands of John McHale, who will make the final determination if anything different should be done."

Venters admitted having trouble sleeping Monday night and said he expected a similarly restless night Tuesday while he awaited a determination of whether the suspension will be reduced or rescinded.

"I'm kind of ready for the whole thing to be over with," he said.