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Rangers’ Odor doesn't regret punching Bautista

OAKLAND, Calif. — Rougned Odor said that he expects to be suspended by Major League Baseball, but the Texas Rangers’ second baseman said that he doesn’t regret punching Jose Bautista on Sunday because he felt he needed to defend himself.

Odor spoke to the media Monday afternoon before the Rangers opened a three-game series against the Oakland A’s. He said that he hasn’t been watching TV or looking at newspapers or social media in the aftermath of a brawl that has consumed ESPN and MLB Network.

“I think you saw what happened yesterday,” Odor said. “For me, I think it was a pretty hard slide, but you saw what happened. I knew he was going to come hard. I can tell when somebody is coming hard to second base, so I was just trying to protect myself.

“It’s part of the game.”

MLB is weighing who to suspend and for how long after the eighth-inning brawl, and a decision could be made today. Odor’s punch landed after Matt Bush hit Bautista in the padding on his left elbow and the ball deflected down and hit Bautista in the hip.

Miffed, Bautista went to first and then made a late slide into second base two batters later as Odor tried to turn a double play. Bautista hopped up with his chest out. Odor shoved him and then beat Bautista to the punch with a right to the jaw as it looked as if Bautista was getting ready to punch him.

“I saw him standing there after the slide,” Odor said “He was looking at me. I was like, ‘What’s up?’ He was close to me. I had to step back a little bit, and that’s what I did.”

Third baseman Adrian Beltre grabbed Bautista and restrained him well back from the growing melee, in which it is believed that Odor also punched reigning MVP Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson, Bautista and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons are facing suspensions in addition to Bush, who was not ejected, Rangers manager Jeff Banister and bench coach Steve Buechele. Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez is also facing a ban for hitting Prince Fielder in the bottom of the eighth. Gibbons came back onto the field for the brawl after he had been ejected in the third inning.

Odor said that he doesn’t know how long he will be suspended, but a suspension is coming.

“That’s not my job. I don’t know anything yet. I’m still waiting,” he said. “I know I’m going to be suspended for a couple games. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”