McDowell to return to bench on Friday

McDowell to return to bench on Friday

ATLANTA -- Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell will return Friday after serving the two-week suspension Major League Baseball levied in response to his reaction to heckling fans before an April 23 game in San Francisco.

Along with the suspension, MLB levied an unspecified fine and required McDowell to undergo sensitivity training. He has also taken time recently to apologize to Justin Quinn, the man who alleged that McDowell made homophobic gestures and statements to three other men and also threatened him during batting practice.

"Roger has started the MLB-mandated sensitivity training and he's in the process of going through that now," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "This is an effort to help him understand what happened in San Francisco and help him going forward. He also has reached out to the family and apologized to them directly. He's in the process of going through the sensitivity training now and is looking forward to returning to join the team."

Reacting to a group of young men who were heckling backup catcher David Ross down the left-field line, McDowell made comments and sexual gestures. With his twin nine-year-old daughters in attendance, Quinn exchanged words with McDowell.

Quinn claimed McDowell threatened him by holding a fungo bat in his hand and asking "How much are your teeth worth?"

Quinn's claim that McDowell said children shouldn't be at the ballpark has been disputed by multiple fans who were in attendance. They said he simply said children shouldn't be in an area where fans were using some of the language that was being used in that section down the left-field line at AT&T Park that afternoon.

Braves Minor League pitching coordinator Dave Wallace has served as the Braves' pitching coach since McDowell's suspension began on April 29.