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San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson says he was slapped in the face by Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham during batting practice before Friday night’s game over a fantasy football league disagreement.
Speaking after the Reds’ 5-1 victory, Pederson was asked by reporters in the locker room about the situation, which resulted in Pham being benched before the start of the rain-delayed game.
Joc Pederson of the San Francisco Giants hits a single in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park May 27, 2022. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
“He kinda came up and said, ‘You remember from last year?’ And I was like, ‘fantasy football?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah.’”
Pederson explained the disagreement happened well over a year ago over a fantasy league the two were in.
“We were in a fantasy league together. I put somebody — a player — on the injured reserve when they were listed as out and added another player. And then there was a text message in the group saying that I was cheating because I was stashing players on the bench.”
Pederson explained that he felt he was within his right in setting up his team for that week and sent a screenshot of the rules to his group chat. He also pointed out that Pham had a similar situation on his team.
“That was basically all of it, there’s not much more to it,” Pederson said.
Joc Pederson of the San Francisco Giants flies out in the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park May 27, 2022, in Cincinnati. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Pham allegedly struck Pederson in the left cheek, but Pederson said he didn’t react.
“There was a decent amount of people around,” Pederson said. “I didn’t get emotional. I don’t think violence is the answer, I guess you could say … It was an unfortunate situation over a fantasy football rule. It wasn’t a rule.”
Tommy Pham of the Cincinnati Reds runs out an RBI single during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field May 17, 2022, in Cleveland. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Sources told The Athletic the Giants requested that Pham not play in the game. The Reds changed their lineup right before the game’s first pitch.