MLB disciplines D-backs, Dodgers for fracas
Eight receive suspensions; Kennedy tagged with 10 games
Major League Baseball on Friday announced penalties for 12 members of the D-backs and Dodgers involved in the benches-clearing incidents on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, with Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy receiving the stiffest discipline of a 10-game suspension and both managers suspended one game.
Along with the punishment handed down to Kennedy, D-backs infielder Eric Hinske received a five-game suspension, Dodgers pitcher J.P. Howell and Dodgers outfielder Skip Schumaker were hit with two-game suspensions and Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario received a one-game suspension, all for their "aggressive actions during the incidents," according to an MLB release issued Friday. All player suspensions are subject to appeal, and only Belisario has elected to serve his suspension without appealing it.
Also, Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire will serve a two-game suspension, while Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and D-backs skipper Kirk Gibson were each suspended one game. Those suspensions cannot be appealed and began Friday.
Mattingly, meeting with reporters before the Dodgers began a three-game series in Pittsburgh while Trey Hillman filled in as manager for the day, said it was fitting that Kennedy's punishment was the harshest, the 10 days of the suspension amounting to two starts if it's upheld.
"To me, he seemed like kind of the instigator, started it, piled on, he got the most. Just seems fair," Mattingly said of Kennedy, whose two hit batsmen were central to the confrontation.
With the D-backs playing in San Diego on Friday night, Kennedy and Hinske both said they will appeal their suspensions. Kennedy's is the longest for a Major League pitcher since Kansas City's Runelvys Hernandez in 2005 served a 10-game suspension for an incident in which he hit three Tigers batters, including one in the head.
"You look at the history and my history and the history of things happening with first offenses in the past and that's why I'm going to go through the appealing process," Kennedy said on Friday. "I think 10 games is -- I think they're trying to set an example."
In addition to the eight suspensions announced by MLB vice president for standards and on-field operations Joe Garagiola Jr., four players were fined for their actions in the fight-marred game: Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero and D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra. All eight players receiving suspensions also were fined. The amounts of the fines were not disclosed.
Hinske -- characterized as a peacekeeper in the situation, even by some in the Dodgers' clubhouse Friday -- was taken aback by his suspension and the fact that Puig was not suspended, only fined, after video replays showed him lunging at and punching Hinske during the melee.
"I don't believe what I did out there warranted any suspension, let alone a five-game suspension, so I'm a little confused by the situation," Hinske said. "In my mind, Puig was the aggressor on the field throughout the whole fight out of any player on that field, and he received no games. To me, that's not fair. I don't understand why it's this way.
"I was just holding my ground. I didn't throw any punches, and I had punches thrown at me by Puig. He gets no games, I get five. You tell me what's right there."
On top of the suspensions, the Dodgers were fined for allowing players currently on the disabled list to leave the dugout, violating MLB rules. As a result, neither the Dodgers nor the D-backs may have players who are on the DL sitting on the bench through the weekend.
While Belisario elected to serve his one-game suspension, Howell and Schumaker have said they will appeal their suspensions, with Schumaker adding he was advised not to speak to reporters about the incident until the appeal is resolved. While a player awaits his appeal, his suspension will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.
Mattingly said of Schumaker's situation, "I know Skip didn't seem to understand his. He was surprised, because if he had his hands on anybody, he was pulling people off."
The punishment levied Friday stems from the events in Tuesday night's game between the National League West foes, a series of hit batters that eventually spun into a melee in the seventh inning, spilling violently toward a camera well behind home plate at Dodger Stadium.
The tension began to build in the sixth inning, when Kennedy threw a pitch up and in to Puig, who was struck in the shoulder and on the face but took first base. In the top of the seventh, Greinke struck Montero in the back, with both benches clearing but no punches thrown. In the bottom half of the inning, Kennedy hit Greinke in the left shoulder with a pitch, knocking Greinke's helmet off and setting off a full-fledged fracas on the field.
Because both benches had been warned after Greinke hit Montero, Kennedy and Gibson were ejected automatically once Greinke was hit. McGwire, D-backs assistant hitting coach Turner Ward, Puig and Belisario were also eventually ejected.
Kennedy's suspension was for "intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area" of Greinke. Mattingly was cited for the actions of his club and for his conduct, which included a tussle that left D-backs bench coach Alan Trammell on the ground, and McGwire was punished for his on-field actions, which included shouting and grabbing members of the D-backs' coaching staff. Gibson was suspended for the "intentional actions of Kennedy" in the incident.
"I think our whole team was trying to avoid escalation," Gibson said Friday. "I think we were trying to stop it and were protecting ourselves and I think it's pretty clear and I think the video is pretty clear about that as well. ... And we also understood they were angry and understood why."
Greinke, speaking to reporters in Pittsburgh on Friday, was cautious with his words in reacting to the news of the discipline being handed down.
"Every answer I have can be put in a way to make thinks wrong, you know?" Greinke said.
Belisario, a teammate of Montero's on Venezuela's World Baseball Classic roster, was much more adamant that the D-backs catcher should have been suspended for inciting the incident.
"He was the one that started that fight. That's not right," Belisario said.
Belisario added his opinion that the suspensions won't be the end of this story.
"I don't think it's over," he said. "Everybody knows that it's not over yet."
Count Greinke among those who won't know until the D-backs and Dodgers meet again July 8-10 in Phoenix whether this episode between the division rivals is in the past.
"I don't know how everyone feels about it on their side, or on our side," Greinke said. "If one person, [that's] all it takes, if one person is still upset, it could start the whole thing over again. You can't really predict how it's going to end. It could be an accidental thing that starts it over again.
"If something is done on accident, it could be misinterpreted, emotions are going to be a little higher, you hope nothing happens, but people make mistakes. And people might make mistakes on purpose."