Oakland outfielder Matt Joyce received a two-game suspension without pay Saturday for directing a gay slur toward a fan in Anaheim and he will take part in a public outreach initiative with PFLAG, a family and ally organization supporting LGBTQ community.
Major League Baseball made the announcement, saying Joyce's penalty was set to begin Saturday, when he also apologized through the team. Joyce said he is "beyond sorry," and the Athletics also made a statement insisting his language was unacceptable and wouldn't be tolerated.
The A's are donating more than $54,000 of Joyce's lost salary to PFLAG.
"In regard to last night's incident, I sincerely apologize to the fans, the Oakland A's, MLB and most importantly the LGBTQ community for my comments and actions," Joyce's statement said. "A fan yelled vulgar and obscene words about me and my family and I let my frustrations and emotions get the better of me.
"I am beyond sorry for the inappropriate language that I used and understand and agree that those words should NEVER come out of someone's mouth no matter the situation. Anyone who knows me will tell you that it is not reflective of me as a person, how I treat others, how I live my life and that those hurtful words are not my views. I fully support and hope to help the LGBTQ community with their efforts in being treated fairly. I intend to let my actions speak louder than anything more that can be said about this truly regrettable moment."
The exchange occurred during the eighth inning of Los Angeles' 8-6 win after Angels first baseman C.J. Cron made a diving stop of Joyce's hard-hit grounder.
As Joyce returned to the dugout, he uttered several profanities at the fan, called him a gay slur and challenged him to fight, according to Associated Press photographer Mark J. Terrill, who overheard the exchange. Terrill said he didn't hear the first part of the exchange.
"The Oakland Athletics are very disappointed by the comments Matt Joyce made to a fan during the eighth inning of last night's game," the A's statement said. "This language is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our team. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and expect our entire organization to live up to higher standards. We appreciate that Matt is contrite about his conduct and know he will learn from this incident."
The Boston Red Sox in May permanently banned a male fan they said used a racial slur, a separate confrontation from insults directed at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones one night before. In June, the New York Mets fired their recognizable "Mr. Met" mascot — with the oversized costumed head with baseball seams — for flipping off a fan.
Joyce, 33, is in his first season with Oakland, his 10th in the majors overall and played with the Angels for one season in 2015. Joyce was batting .227 with 14 home runs, 43 RBIs and 74 strikeouts in 98 games for the last-place A's.
After the game, Joyce also acknowledged he shouldn't have reacted that way.
"It's just one of those things that fans kind of get into the game. Obviously, we're pretty frustrated on our side and I had just hit a ball hard and had Cron make a good play," Joyce said. "I was walking back to the dugout and just had a fan yell some vulgar and obscene words.
"For me it just wasn't the right time to say some stuff like that. I fired back and obviously as soon as you fire back you regret saying anything, because it's just not worth it."
The San Francisco Giants placed first baseman Brandon Belt on the seven-day concussion list and called up third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Belt was hit in the head by a 79 mph curveball from Arizona rookie Anthony Banda on Friday night. Sandoval, who was the 2012 World Series MVP with the Giants, signed a minor league contract with the club on July 22 after he was released by Boston, which signed him to a $95-million, five-year deal after the 2014 season. …
The Seattle Mariners put Felix Hernandez on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Wednesday, because of biceps tendinitis. Hernandez was scheduled to start Saturday night against the Kansas City Royals. Left-hander Marco Gonzalez was recalled from triple-A Tacoma to take his rotation turn. This is Hernandez's second trip to the disabled this season. He was out April 26 to June 23 with shoulder bursitis. He is 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA in eight starts since coming off the disabled list. …
The Colorado Rockies placed rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland on the 10-day disabled list, a day after he was forced to leave his start in the first inning because of a left groin strain. Freeland, who leads both the team and major league rookies with 11 wins this season, had thrown 11 pitches and recorded one out when he was lifted from Friday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies because of the injury. In related moves, the Rockies optioned RHP Scott Oberg to triple-A Albuquerque while recalling right-handers Shane Carle and Carlos Estevez. Additionally, the Rockies reinstated from the 60-day disabled list RHP Chad Bettis, who is coming back from a bout with testicular cancer. He was optioned to Albuquerque. …
Slumping New York Yankees slugger Matt Holliday could be headed to the disabled list with a sore lower back. Holliday tweaked his back swinging during Friday's 7-2 loss to the Indians and was not in the lineup Saturday night. Holliday has had back issues before and manager Joe Girardi said the club will evaluate the severity of his injury before making a move. … The Atlanta Braves have called up left-hander Max Fried, one of the team's top prospects, to pitch out of the bullpen. He's the second prospect to join the Braves this week after second baseman Ozzie Albies was called up from triple-A Gwinnett. … Right-hander Jason Hursh was optioned to Gwinnett. Infielder Jace Peterson was recalled from Gwinnett to take the spot of Sean Rodriguez, who was traded to Pittsburgh earlier in the day.
4:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with more injury news and call-ups from the Braves and Yankees.
2:35 p.m.: This article has been updated with news of Matt Joyce's two-game suspension.