Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham was suspended for three games after slapping San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson before their teams played Friday. Pham was apparently still smarting over a dispute from their fantasy football league, according to ESPN.
“I slapped Joc,” Pham said later. “He said some sh– I don’t condone. I had to address it.”
Pederson was caught off-guard by the pre-game attack.
“It was a surprise,” Pederson said. “There was no real argument. He kind of came up and said, like, ‘I don’t know if you remember from last year,’ and I was like, ‘Fantasy football?’ He was like, ‘Yeah.”
Tommy Pham reportedly taught Joc Pederson what the five fingers said to the face 😲 https://t.co/P88BknUUaY
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 28, 2022
Pham was benched for the game, which the Reds won, 5-1, and Major League Baseball announced the suspension on Saturday.
After the game, Pederson said he was accused of cheating in the fantasy football league for putting San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson on injured reserve and replacing him with a free agent. Pederson insisted the move was legal because the player he put on IR had been ruled out for that week.
“I sent a screenshot of the rules, how it says that if a player’s ruled out, you’re allowed to put him on the IR and that’s all I was doing,” Pederson said. “He literally did the same thing. That was basically all of it.”
Pederson speculated that Pham may have had Wilson in another league and gotten mixed up.
“Maybe that was a confusion,” he said. “In the ESPN league we were in, he was listed as out. It feels very similar to what I did. That was basically all of it. There’s not much more to it.”
Pederson said he was caught off-guard by Pham’s attack, but isn’t looking to get even.
“Violence isn’t the answer. It’s over as far as I’m concerned,” Pederson said. “I won’t talk to him. I don’t think he wants to talk to me, I don’t know. It was a weird interaction.”
Pham is getting a reputation as a hothead. In April, he challenged San Diego’s hulking first baseman Luke Voit to a fight after Voit slid hard into Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson.
“If Luke wants to settle it, I get down really well,” Pham said. “Anything. Muay Thai, whatever. Like I said, I’ve got an owner here who will let me use his facility.”
Giants Manager Gabe Kapler, who recently made news by saying he won’t come out of the dugout for the National Anthem to protest gun violence, declined to comment on the dust-up.
“Major League Baseball is investigating it, and until that’s complete, I’m probably not going to say much on it,” Kapler said.