Notes: Soriano suspended four games

Notes: Soriano suspended four games

ATLANTA -- When the Braves learned Thursday that Major League Baseball had issued Rafael Soriano a four-game suspension, they reacted both with surprise and disgust.

As for Soriano, he reacted by appealing the suspension that came as a result of him hitting Dan Uggla with a pitch during the ninth inning of Monday's win over the Marlins. Thus, the Atlanta closer will remain available at least until he's able to tell MLB his version of the story.

"It shocked me," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "I don't know where that came from. It's a huge surprise. ... There was no warning, no bad blood, no nothing."

Braves general manager John Schuerholz said Soriano's appeal hasn't been scheduled. In addition, he added that he doesn't know if the suspension can carry over to next season.

"Four games is crazy," Andruw Jones said. "It wasn't the first pitch. Nobody got kicked out of the game, and there was no fight."

After getting hit in the left shoulder with Soriano's 1-0 pitch, Uggla stared toward the mound and then later told reporters there was definite intent. Home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa, who issued warnings to both benches after this incident, shared the Marlins second baseman's thoughts and expressed this in his report to MLB.

"[Kulpa] doesn't know what I was trying to do," Soriano said. "I was trying to throw inside, and the ball moved. I don't have control over that."

Uggla had homered off Soriano on June 30, and Marlins starter Byung-Hyun Kim had hit three batters earlier in the night. But the Braves didn't have a problem with Kim's errant slider and didn't think Matt Lindstrom's seventh-inning curveball over Jones' head had intent.

Just two innings earlier, Jones had homered. As the ball traveled toward the outfield wall, he slammed his bat to the ground. Some Marlins felt he was showboating. Truth be told, he was reacting to what he thought was just a long fly out.

"It's stupid," Jones said. "But [MLB] didn't check what happened. But [Soriano] has got his right to appeal. We'll see what happens, and go from there."

If there was one reason for the Braves to retaliate, it would have been in response to their belief that Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis hit Yunel Escobar with a pitch on Aug. 29.

"You look at when Escobar got hit, and he wasn't just standing there," Jones said. "He was getting out of the way. In our eyes, how can you not say that wasn't on purpose?"

It's probably good that the Braves and Marlins won't be playing again this season. Soriano wasn't happy with the way Uggla reacted after homering off him in the ninth inning of Wednesday's series finale.

Dotel activated: Before Thursday's series opener against the Brewers, the Braves activated Octavio Dotel from the 15-day disabled list. The veteran right-handed reliever has been sidelined since Aug. 7 with a right shoulder strain.

"We'll get him out there and see what he can do," Cox said of Dotel, who was acquired from the Royals at the trade deadline in exchange for Kyle Davies.

Dotel made just five appearances with the Braves before experiencing shoulder discomfort. His return will help ease the load for Cox's relievers. Entering Thursday, Peter Moylan had made appearances in three straight games and five appearances in a six-day span.

Chase for the batting title: Chipper Jones and Edgar Renteria haven't spoken about their battle for the National League batting title, but they know it's rare for two teammates to head into the season's final week with a legitimate chance to win the crown.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, just one pair of teammates has ended a season ranked first and second in the NL batting race. That occurred in 2001, when Colorado's Todd Helton and Larry Walker held the top two spots. Several American League teammates have claimed the top two spots at the end of a respective season.

Colorado's Matt Holiday entered Thursday leading the NL with a .340 batting average. He went 1-for-4 during an afternoon game to drop that average to .339, which tied the mark Jones owned entering this series opener against the Brewers. Renteria began the day in third place with a .338 mark.

Coming up: The Braves will continue their four-game series against the Brewers on Friday night at 7:05 ET. They'll send Tim Hudson (16-8, 3.33 ERA) to the mound to oppose Carlos Villanueva (8-4, 4.11).

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.