Cubs hope for a light penalty for Derrek Lee.
The waiting is just about over.
Derrek Lee is expected to find out Monday what his punishment from Major League Baseball will be for his fight Saturday with San Diego pitcher Chris Young, which started a benches-clearing incident.
It’s possible the Cubs’ star first baseman could be suspended for 10 games. Last year, Cubs catcher Michael Barrett was suspended for 10 games for punching White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Manager Lou Piniella hopes Lee receives a light sentence because the punch missed Young and because Lee’s been a positive influence for the game.
“They’ll review the film and make a determination, but there is no set rule or set penalty,” Piniella said. “They should (give Lee the benefit), but we’ll see. I don’t know what baseball’s thinking is. I know they don’t like fights, and they want to eradicate that from the curriculum. They don’t want people hurt.”
Lee, cheered loudly at Wrigley Field on Sunday, is bracing for the news. But he can buy some time by appealing: Barrett slugged Pierzynski on May 20 last year, but didn’t begin serving his suspension until June 19, after he lost his appeal.
“The whole thing is unfortunate,” Lee said. “I’ll have to deal with it. Hopefully, it’s not too bad. I'll wait and see (for an appeal). I’m anxious to find out. I have no idea what it’s going to be.”
Young hit Lee in the left arm with a pitch in Saturday’s game, and the two exchanged words while Lee headed toward first base. After Lee’s punch, Young countered with a punch, but also failed to land it.
Home-plate umpire Mike Everitt was busy talking with catcher Rob Bowen - who thought a foul ball should have been called - and did not escort Lee to first base as umpires sometimes do when there’s evidence of a rift brewing.
Lee said Sunday the ball hit his left arm and then the bat. He said he wasn’t hurt by the pitch nor during the scuffle.
Lee, Young, Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry and Padres pitcher Jake Peavy also were ejected. Piniella said he has no idea whether Perry will be suspended.
There were no warnings issued by the umpires before Sunday’s game, which the Padres won 11-3. No brushback or knockdown pitches were thrown.
There was speculation Lee was hit in retaliation for Alfonso Soriano admiring a home run he hit against David Wells on Friday. Soriano took several steps backward toward first before turning around and circling the bases.
Soriano was still irate Sunday about the Padres taking exception to how he reacted to his homer.
“Play the game - have some fun,” Soriano said. “It’s not like I killed somebody. I was looking to see if it was fair or foul. Play the game.”
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