Brett Gardner said he was fined “thousands of dollars” by Major League Baseball last month for repeated violations of baseball’s pace-of-play policy. He’s not too happy about it.
“Nothing I say about that is going to do me any good,” Gardner said before the Yankees hosted the Braves on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Gardner said the issue that led to the fine, according to MLB, is that he takes too long to walk from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box before he hits.
Gardner was informed of a $2,000 fine in a letter from Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer. Gardner made his Yankees debut in 2008, the year after Torre’s tenure as Yankees manager ended.
The New York Post reported that Gardner has been fined a total of about $3,500 for six violations.
“My agent started taking care of it,” Gardner said. “I told them don’t talk to me about it. I’ve got more things to worry about than taking three seconds too long to get to the box. Somebody else can [throw pickoff throws to first base] 27 times in a game and waste 15 minutes of everybody’s time, and I get fined thousands of dollars taking three seconds too long to get in the box.”
Asked if he’s doing anything differently since getting fined, Gardner said: “Trying to get in the box as quick as possible — just like always.”
MLB said Gardner’s fine will be donated to charity when paid. Gardner said he wasn’t sure if an appeal had been filed by the players’ union. A source familiar with the situation said that process is in motion.
Gardner is making $11.5 million this season, his 11th in the big leagues.
MLB spokesman Michael Teevan did not comment on Gardner specifically but wrote in an email: “The pace of game program is collectively bargained, and there are progressive fines for either serious or repeated violations.”
MLB, which began warning and then fining players for pace- of-play violations in 2015, does not release the names of players who are fined. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said in 2017 that he had been fined “almost 50 grand or something like that.”
When the possibility of fines was first announced in 2015, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said, “I might run out of money.”