CINCINNATI — Giants outfielder Joc Pederson said he was slapped by Reds outfielder Tommy Pham for a fantasy football league disagreement during batting practice ahead of the Reds’ 5-1 victory Friday at the Great American Ball Park.
“He kind of came over and said, ‘Remember last year? ‘” Pederson recalled after Friday’s game. “And I was like ‘fantasy football? He was like “yeah”.
It was, says Pederson, that Pham slapped him on the left cheek.
Major League Baseball is investigating the matter, the teams said. Both managers, David Bell of the Reds and Gabe Kapler of the Giants, declined to comment after the game. Pham also declined to comment after the team’s batting practice.
The Giants, sources said, asked Pham not to play in the game. The Reds relented near the end of the more than two-hour rain delay, announcing the change just before the 8:48 p.m. first pitch.
According to a statement from the Reds, “Mr. Pham has agreed not to play tonight pending the results of the MLB investigation.”
Pederson said he didn’t react to the slap and was more surprised than anything. His teammates responded as both teams rushed to left field where the incident occurred.
“There were a decent number of people around and I didn’t get emotional,” Pederson said. “I don’t think violence is the solution.”
The beef, Pederson said, stems from a fantasy football argument. According to Pederson, Pham accused Pederson of cheating because he was “hiding players on my bench”. Pederson said he consulted the rules used by the league and was correct. Disagreements ensued over a group text for the league, which sources say includes MLB players from multiple teams.
Pederson said the two never spoke in person until Friday. He doesn’t foresee there being much communication between the two in the future.
“It’s over as far as I’m concerned,” Pederson said when asked if he could see Pham on Saturday. “I don’t think I will talk to him. I don’t think he wants to talk to me, I guess, I don’t know.”
Even without Pham in the lineup, the Reds beat the Giants, picking up their third straight win, matching the Reds’ longest streak this season. The Giants recently lost four straight before winning their last two games in New York. Pederson was 1 of 3 with an RBI on a hit-for-shot in Friday’s game.
“You show up here and it’s hard to go back,” Pederson said. “It was a tough day and we didn’t play well as a team and then you lose a game… we fight a bit and it just makes it worse.”
Earlier this season, Pham challenged the Padres’ Luke Voit to a fight after Voit collided with Reds receiver Tyler Stephenson, causing a concussion.
(Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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