5/24/2014 2:46 A.M. ET
Gonzalez stands behind actions in strange 7th vs. Crew
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sympathizes with the position Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was in Thursday night, when he announced Will Smith was entering the game in the seventh inning without realizing the pitcher was not warming up in the bullpen.
But at the same time, Gonzalez's responsibility was to protect his own team by making sure the umpires did not allow Smith to throw more than the customary eight pitches allotted to any pitcher who enters a game in which their entry was not necessitated by an injury or ejection.
"As far as the eight pitches, rules are rules," Gonzalez said.
With pitching coach Rick Kranitz and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell attending graduation ceremonies, the Brewers fell victim to what Roenicke termed "miscommunication." Backup catcher Martin Maldonado had gone to the bullpen with the understanding Zach Duke would be the left-handed reliever who would need to warm up. But the dugout never called the bullpen to get either of the lefty relievers -- Duke or Smith -- to warm up.
Duke jogged out of the bullpen and reached the infield grass before Roenicke made it known he wanted Smith. Because his name had already been given to the umpires, Smith could not exit the game until he faced at least one batter or retired one of the runners already on base.
Via the television monitors in the dugout, Gonzalez knew a left-handed reliever had not been warming up in the Brewers' bullpen. Thus when Smith entered, he made sure to tell crew chief Fieldin Culbreth that the southpaw should not be allowed to throw more than eight warmup pitches.
Once Culbreth donned the headset and verified this with a supervisor in the replay command center, Ryan Doumit greeted Smith with a decisive two-run single.
"I think [Culbreth] just wanted to make sure they were doing the right thing," Gonzalez said. "I said, 'Call Bud Selig and wake him up. Whatever you've got to to do, but he's only throwing eight pitches.'"
Johnson removed from game after temper boils over
ATLANTA -- Chris Johnson felt first-base coach Terry Pendleton's wrath at the end of a game in September and he was benched for two games in April when his temper got the best of him again. He was fortunate that his latest fit of rage did not amount to anything more than him facing the embarrassment of being removed during Friday night's 3-2 win over the Rockies.
"I let my emotions get the best of me tonight," Johnson said. "I came in, in the tunnel and blew up a little bit. That's dangerous to do. There were some people down there that weren't too happy about it."
After striking out to begin the bottom of the second inning, Johnson went toward the clubhouse to release some anger. Pieces of a bat that he shattered hit both Gerald Laird and manager Fredi Gonzalez, who were standing near the top of the dugout stairs.
Laird rushed toward Johnson and managed to get to him just ahead of Gonzalez, who offered a few choice words before replacing him with Ramiro Pena between innings.
"I agree 100 percent with his decision," Johnson said. "It was the right thing to do. Taking me out of the game and not letting me play is probably the worst thing to do to me because all I want to do is to go out there and play. So whatever the punishment might be, I'll take it like a man and try to get better."
When Johnson turned over cups, bubble gum containers and other dugout items last month, he was left out of the lineup for two games. After he hit Pendleton with a batting helmet after a Sept. 28 game against the Phillies last year, he did not play in the following afternoon's regular-season finale.
"I play with a lot of passion," Johnson said. "Every single pitch and every single at-bat, I hold in high regard. When things don't go well, that is kind of my downfall. That is one of the biggest parts of my game I need to work on. One of the worst things I could ever do is hurt a teammate or something like that.
"This has to be it for me. I think it will get a point where people won't think I'm truly sorry for doing it. It just looks selfish."
Instead of addressing this latest issue when asked by reporters, Gonzalez made Johnson take full accountability by explaining his actions to media members.
"I apologized to the team for that after the game and to Pena for having to pick me up," Johnson said. "I'm sorry I let down the fans and the people that came out to see me play today."
Lopez shares humorous anecdote at Chipper's expense
ATLANTA -- As Javy Lopez was delivering his speech after getting inducted to the Braves Hall of Fame on Friday, Chipper Jones got nervous when the former catcher said he wanted to tell a couple stories about the time he shared with Jones at the Minor League level.
But Jones felt a sense of relief when Lopez simply reminisced about what happened when the future Hall of Famer threw his bat after striking out with the bases loaded while playing for the 1992 Double-A Greenville Braves. The bat ricocheted off the dugout and hit the prized Braves' prospect in the mouth. As a bloodied Jones was being tended to in the clubhouse, former Braves pitcher Pedro Borbon called Lopez over to show him the bat.
"His two front tooth were sticking out," Lopez said as the crowd gathered for the Hall of Fame luncheon roared in laughter.
Approximately 15 minutes later, Jones ran into legendary scout Paul Snyder and said, "You've always asked why I never threw my bat or batting helmet. That's why."
• Despite the fact that Tyler Pastornicky was deemed ready to play on Friday, Dan Uggla got a second straight start at second base. Gonzalez said he simply liked the matchup. Uggla had recorded two hits in three previous at-bats against Rockies starting pitcher Jordan Lyles.
• Evan Gattis has regained most of the strength that he lost while battling a virus this week. Gonzalez said he hopes to get Gattis back in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday.
• Doumit entered Friday with four hits, including two doubles and a home run, in his past five pinch-hit at-bats. Doumit began this season 3-for-16 as a pinch-hitter.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.