May 17, 2016 / 2:27 AM / 3 years ago

Rangers' Odor expects suspension over punch, has no regrets

May 7, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor (12) celebrates with teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Rougned Odor expects a suspension from Major League Baseball after punching Toronto’s Jose Bautista in the face on Sunday but the Texas Rangers second baseman says he has no regrets and was just trying to protect himself.

Odor sparked a mass brawl on the field on Sunday when he landed the punch shortly after Bautista had made a hard slide into second base.

Asked if he had any regrets, Odor said: “No. I can tell when someone is coming hard to second base, so I was just trying to protect myself.

“I know I am going to be suspended for a couple of games, but I am going to keep doing what I’m doing.” Major League Baseball has yet to hand down punishment for the incident.

Bautista, who drew the ire of Texas fans last season with a bat flip after hitting the game-winning home run in Game Five of the American League Division Series, was hit by a pitch earlier during Sunday’s game.

“I just play the game how I play it. I play to win the game,” Odor said. “I respect (Bautista). He plays hard.”

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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