Astros' Fiers handed 5-game suspension

September 14th, 2017

ANAHEIM - Astros pitcher Mike Fiers will serve a five-game suspension and receive an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the area of the head of Angels third baseman in the fourth inning of Wednesday's game.

Major League Baseball chief baseball officer Joe Torre handed down the suspension on Thursday afternoon. Fiers elected not to appeal, meaning his suspension is scheduled to begin with Thursday night's series finale at Angel Stadium.

A team spokesman said Fiers wasn't available for comment, but manager A.J. Hinch said the two talked Thursday.

"He was upset with everything, the whole process of having the suspension," Hinch said. "He didn't hit him. He wasn't trying to hit him. I think he said after the game he was trying to send a message to respect the game and respect him a little bit more. You want to play the game right and sometimes these things flare up when there's an exuberant celebration at the plate when a guy gets a home run or gets a base hit. We know Luis well. It was an unfortunate incident."

Fiers admitted postgame Wednesday he took exception with Valbuena's bat flip following his first-inning home run. When Valbuena took his second at-bat in the fourth, Fiers threw a ball above and behind Valbuena's head, prompting home plate umpire Cory Blaser to issue warnings to both teams.

"You watch this game and you know what goes on," Fiers said after Wednesday's game. "What he did to me, I took it as disrespect. Obviously, I played with Valbuena and I have no hard feeling towards him, but when you do something like that, as disrespectful as he did, you've got to send some kind of message. I'm not trying to hit him, but something has to be said."

Valbuena, a teammate of Fiers the previous two years, and who's known for flipping his bat on hits that aren't home runs, said after the game Wednesday: "I enjoyed my home run. If he wants to hit me, it's OK, but if I hit another home run, you'll see what happens."

Hinch said bat flips have become a part of the game that most players take in stride.

"I came up in a much different era," he said. "There was a little more respect for the competition and not so much the showmanship and the celebrations, and as it's evolved into more of an entertainment business. We celebrate touchdowns in football, dunks in basketball or home runs or base hits. You've got guys that will pimp walks nowadays.

"It's sort of evolved to that to where if you are offended by that you're going to be offended every day in our game. It is what it is. Some of it is funny when it's on your team. It's not fun when you get beat and somebody else does it."

Fiers is 8-10 with a 5.22 ERA in 29 games (28 starts) for the Astros this year. He was briefly moved to the bullpen last week and threw his only inning of the season in relief on Friday, but was picked to start Wednesday when was scratched with arm fatigue.