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Mota receives fine, suspension
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03/17/2003  6:58 PM ET 
Mota receives fine, suspension
Incident with Piazza costs reliever five games, $1,500
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Guillermo Mota throws a pitch in Monday's exhibition game against the Expos. (Jon SooHoo/Dodgers)
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Reliever Guillermo Mota was suspended five regular-season games and fined $1,500 Monday for his part in last Wednesday's bench-clearing brawl between the Dodgers and New York Mets.

Mets catcher Mike Piazza, the other key player involved in the melee, was suspended five games and fined $3,000.

Adam Katz, Mota's agent, said he would consult with the Major League Baseball Players Association before deciding whether to appeal the punishment handed down by Bob Watson, baseball's disciplinarian.

There was no word on when Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, would hear an appeal.

"I'd like it to be soon," Watson said. "Before the season if possible. But that's up to Bob and the players union. I'm not going to comment on the matter, though. There will be an appeal process and we can't talk until the appeal process is in place."

Mota, after throwing a pitch inside to Piazza, hit the Mets catcher in the back with the next pitch. Piazza charged the mound and the benches emptied. Mota and Piazza were ejected, and Piazza later entered the Dodgers clubhouse looking for Mota, who had already left the stadium with teammate Brian Jordan.

Mota reiterated his innocence of the charge that he hit Piazza intentionally.

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"Like I said, I don't mean to hit him," said Mota. "I pitch inside to everybody, not only him. See what happens today. I throw a slider to a power hitter and he hits a home run. That shows me I have to pitch inside."

In the Dodgers' game with Montreal Monday, Mota gave up a two-run homer to Valentino Pascucci.

The Dodgers were generally relieved that Mota's discipline was not worse.

"I'm not overreacting on the negative side," said manager Jim Tracy. "I can't say I'm completely displeased with what Major League Baseball has done."

Last spring, Mota hit Piazza with a pitch and the Mets catcher confronted the Dodger pitcher and grabbed his neck. Piazza was fined $3,000 after that skirmish and no action was taken against Mota.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This article was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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