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Gausman opts to appeal 5-game suspension

@mlbbowman
May 7, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Braves manager Brian Snitker was not surprised Monday when Major League Baseball levied a five-game suspension against Kevin Gausman for throwing a pitch at Jose Urena during Friday’s win over the Marlins. Gausman appealed the suspension, allowing him to start Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Dodgers on

LOS ANGELES -- Braves manager Brian Snitker was not surprised Monday when Major League Baseball levied a five-game suspension against Kevin Gausman for throwing a pitch at Jose Urena during Friday’s win over the Marlins.

Gausman appealed the suspension, allowing him to start Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Dodgers on short rest. The right-hander allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks while striking out six in 4 1/3 innings.

“I kind of figured they would [issue a suspension] because I saw the Chris Archer thing,” Snitker said in reference to the Pirates pitcher who received the same punishment after throwing behind the Reds’ Derek Dietrich earlier this season. “Regardless of whether he tried to [hit Urena] or not, when you get thrown out for something like that ... the umpire made a judgment on what he thought was appropriate at the time.”

Home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson ejected Gausman after his first-pitch fastball went behind the legs of Urena. This marked the first time Urena had faced the Braves since he plunked Ronald Acuna Jr.’s left elbow with the first pitch he threw during a Aug. 15 start at SunTrust Park.

Acuna was vying to hit a leadoff homer in a fourth straight game and extend a power surge during which he had homered eight times in 38 at-bats. Urena was levied a six-game suspension, which he appealed and then served after notching the only complete game of his career on Aug. 19 against the Nationals.

Gausman will decide how to handle the appeal process later this week. The veteran right-hander was brought back on short rest because he threw just 28 pitches over 1 2/3 innings before being ejected Friday.

If Gausman opts to drop his appeal on Tuesday, he would be eligible to make his next start as early as Sunday. But the Braves would still have to give Saturday’s start to Sean Newcomb or another pitcher who would need to be promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett.

This scenario would give each member of Atlanta’s rotation an extra day of rest following next Monday’s scheduled off-day. Max Fried, Mike Soroka and Julio Teheran will each have made at least three consecutive starts with regular rest by the time Thursday concludes.

If Gausman’s appeal drags into the weekend, he could start Saturday’s game in Arizona. But if he were to drop the appeal the following day, the Braves would likely need to promote a pitcher to start their May 17 game against the Brewers. Perhaps more importantly, Fried would be the one rotation member not provided an extra day of rest, because his turn (Sunday) would come before the off-day.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.