MILWAUKEE -- Yankees catcher Brian McCann and Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez met on the field at Miller Park early Friday afternoon to hug it out.
They last met under very different circumstances, in a confrontation near home plate at Turner Field last Sept. 25. Gomez had homered off Braves starter Paul Maholm, and, still steaming about a Maholm fastball that hit his knee earlier in the season, jawed with the Braves pitcher all the way around the bases. McCann confronted Gomez about 10 feet up the third-base line, leading to a rare home run on which the batter never touched home plate.
The two had much kinder words Friday, according to Gomez.
"I go outside and he was hitting, and he said, 'Hey, my man!' I come, talk to him, and he says, 'No hard feelings,'" Gomez said. "I said, 'Neither on my side. You did your job, I feel like it was necessary to do this. I didn't mean to disrespect the Braves. [It was not to] you, personally. I wanted to send a message to Maholm, just to him. … It's in the past. I respect you and I like to see you play because you're the one who played the game right, protect your teammates. I love watching you play. So just have fun today.'
"He said, 'Yeah, yeah, I'm the same way. I like to see you play. I think you're an awesome guy and you did the right thing after the game [by showing] respect and not going crazy. We respect that. I think it's over.'
"He gave me a hug. I gave him a hug. Everything is past."
McCann expressed a similar sentiment after a 5-3 Yankees win.
"There's no hard feelings between me and him," he said. "We shook each other's hands before the game and I told him I respect him as a ballplayer. I think he's great. He's a perennial All-Star in this game. He plays the game hard."
Back in Milwaukee, Jeter recalls first big hit
MILWAUKEE -- Derek Jeter's best memory of playing baseball in the Brew City was forged over what is now part parking lot, part Little League field. At Milwaukee County Stadium on Sept. 26, 1995, a 21-year-old Jeter made an unexpected start and delivered a double that helped his Yankees stay atop the American League Wild Card standings.
Nineteen years later, Jeter was at Miller Park on Friday, beginning his final series in Milwaukee. The Yankees' captain is retiring at season's end, and he will be honored by the Brewers in a pregame ceremony on Sunday.
"I haven't played too many games here," Jeter said. "I remember coming in '95. It was my first time, and I really hadn't played in September, and Bernie [Williams] missed a flight from Puerto Rico. Imagine that."
Williams had traveled home to be with his wife and newborn baby. He was supposed to make it to Milwaukee in time for a series opener against the Brewers, with the Yankees leading the Angels by a half-game with five to play in the race for the AL Wild Card.
Manager Buck Showalter shuffled his starting lineup, creating an opening for the rookie Jeter to make his 14th Major League start. His second-inning double off Milwaukee's Scott Karl gave the Yankees a lead in what would become a 5-4 victory.
Jeter watched most of it from the bench. When Williams arrived, Jeter was removed from the game in the third inning.
Still, it was widely considered his first big hit.
"It was, because we didn't clinch the Wild Card until the last day of the season that year," Jeter said. "I wasn't supposed to play. I think I was just up so I could sort of watch and soak in the environment. It was a big hit for us at the time."
The Brewers say Sunday's ceremony will begin at 12:45 p.m. CT. As is customary, they will present a gift, though its nature remains top secret. When the team held a similar ceremony for the Braves' Chipper Jones in 2012, he received a gas grill and a year's supply of Klement's Sausages.
Ryan Braun helped present Jones with that gift, and he planned to similarly express his appreciation for Jeter.
"The way his career has gone is what all players aspire to accomplish," Braun said.
Jeter said he was much more focused on playing winning baseball than gathering gifts.
"We've only had two stops where it's our last time there," he said. "One was Houston at the beginning of the year, and then Anaheim right before this. The way the fans have treated me, it's been pretty special. Those are the things that I'll remember, but it's still early in the season so I try not to focus on that."
Gomez talks to MLB about fracas with Pirates
MILWAUKEE -- With a three-game suspension still looming over him, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez told Major League Baseball his side of the story in a formal appeals hearing on Friday morning.
During a 90-minute video conference, Gomez went frame-by-frame through video of his involvement in an April 20 altercation between the Brewers and Pirates at PNC Park. He continues to maintain that the blame lies with Pirates outfielder Travis Snider, another of the four players who were suspended in the wake of the fight, and believes he did well enough to get "at least a couple games" knocked off the suspension.
Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash sat in on the proceedings, as did a representative of the MLB Players Association and someone from agent Scott Boras' office. Gomez and the Brewers did not anticipate getting a ruling until next week.
"They heard [the umpires' part]. Now they hear my part," Gomez said. "We rolled the video over and over and explained what's happening. I told them what it is. We all make mistakes, and that weekend was a little tough for me. I should have controlled it, but when someone is coming and screaming at you in language [like that], that's how everything started."
It started in the top of the third inning with a Gomez triple that smacked off the center-field wall. When Gomez reached third base, Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole scolded him for not running hard out of the batter's box, and Gomez popped up to respond.
Pirates players quickly spilled out of the dugout to come to Cole's defense, and it was on.
In the ensuing melee, Snider tackled Gomez on the infield dirt. When Snider was pulled to his feet and spun around, Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado landed a punch to Snider's face. Maldonado accepted a five-game suspension from the incident and has already served it.
Gomez (three games), Snider (two games) and Pirates catcher Russell Martin (one game) all appealed, and MLB on Friday upheld the suspensions for both Pirates players. Snider began serving his ban on Friday night. Martin will serve his when he comes off the disabled list.
Gomez said he told MLB, "I respect Cole. He's emotional and competitive. I don't feel anything about him coming after me and telling me something, because I'm the same way. But Snider is the one who took me to another level.
"I feel sorry about a thing like that because we're all baseball players, and we don't want to hurt nobody. This happened. In the moment, he deserved it."
Gomez said he expected to hear a result of his appeal "for sure [by] Monday." The Brewers are off that day before opening a series at Miller Park against -- guess who? -- the Pirates.
Because Snider will be active again Sunday, the Pirates will be at full strength for that series, while the Brewers, assuming Gomez is suspended at least a game, will potentially be short.
Brewers hope to activate Braun when eligible
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun tested his strained right ribs in batting practice again Friday, and his manager still believes Braun will be back in the Brewers' starting lineup for the first game he is eligible to return from the disabled list.
"He's on schedule, and we'll see if we can get him back here Tuesday," manager Ron Roenicke said.
Braun indicated he may go on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment Monday, but he said the venue was under discussion. Class A Wisconsin, which plays about an hour away in Appleton, Wis., is home that night.
He declined to speculate about returning to the Brewers on Tuesday.
"I'm just trying to get the most out of each day," Braun said. "It's still progressing. Definitely heading in the right direction. It's not going to disappear overnight. These things have a tendency to linger and be around for a little while, which is why we did the DL move in the first place."