Gary Sanchez to start three-game suspension Monday

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez had his suspension reduced to three games, and he will begin serving it Monday when his team visits the Baltimore Orioles.

Sanchez had been suspended for four games for his role in a fight-filled afternoon against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Aug. 24, but he appealed the punishment and continued to play last week.

On Saturday, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera and reliever Alex Wilsonhad their suspensions reduced by one game. Cabrera (six games) and Wilson (three games) both began serving their suspensions Saturday.

"In a way I feel good about it, and then on the other hand I don't feel good about it because I'm going to be unable to help my team in these important games," Sanchez said through an interpreter.

Sanchez had been criticized for what were perceived as sucker punches, after he hit Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos when they were defenseless.

"That's something that happened. You can't turn time around, you can't go back in time," Sanchez said. "It's in the past."

He apologized for his actions in a Facebook post Monday.

"The heat of the moment and my desire to protect my teammates led me to commit some errors during the brawl," Sanchez wrote. "It's an incident I regret and from which I have learned. I know to some these may be mere words, but they are words that I feel the need to express because I sincerely feel this way, and for respect to you, the fans, the Yankees organization, the Detroit Tigers and the game of Baseball."

Sanchez, 24, is hitting .276 with 28 home runs and 79 RBIs this season for the Yankees, who enter Monday atop the American League wild-card standings.

"Obviously, this is an important time for us. Obviously, we don't want to miss him at all," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Sanchez. "But again, it's better than four. And taking one game off could be really important for us. So the next three days we'll be without him, and we'll have to deal with it."

Catcher Austin Romine has appealed his two-game suspension for his role in the fighting. He was in the starting lineup Monday and will likely retain the starting role until Sanchez returns.

"I think that you're allowed to stagger suspensions, and I've seen it in the past," Girardi said. "So I'm not too concerned about that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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