HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball on Tuesday suspended Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron for 20 games for his role in the benches-clearing incident that took place in Sunday’s game against the A’s in Oakland. Cintron can’t appeal, so his suspension began with Tuesday’s game against the Giants. He can return Sept. 2.
Cintron and A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano got involved in a shouting match after Laureano was hit by a pitch for the second consecutive at-bat -- third time in the series -- and went to first base in the seventh inning Sunday. Cintron, standing in the first-base dugout, exchanged words and gestured at Laureano, who charged the dugout and was tackled by Astros catcher Dustin Garneau off the bench. Both benches cleared, and Laureano and A’s catcher Austin Allen were ejected.
Laureano was suspended six games for his role but will appeal.
In a statement, Cintron said, "I accept MLB’s suspension and will learn from this. Although I never referenced Ramón’s mother, my actions were inappropriate. I apologize for my part in Sunday’s unfortunate incident. As coaches, we are held to a higher standard and should be an example to the players. Hopefully, other coaches will learn from my mistake so that this never happens again in the future."
Astros manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday that Cintron can be with the club pregame and during batting practice, but can’t be around the team during the game or postgame. He said the Astros will bring in another coach to assist the other hitting coach, Troy Snitker.
“I just thought they threw the book at us big time,” said Baker, who spoke with MLB officials earlier in the day. “It is what it is, and we have to deal with it and hopefully this brings our guys even closer together, because he was a big part of our team and especially the Latin players. They respect him. These guys rallied around him. Cintron said what he did was wrong. He apologized for [it], but it still doesn’t take the fact away that it happened.”