ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward was suspended for one game after reliever Ian Gibaut threw behind Padres third baseman Manny Machado in the eighth inning on Monday night.
Gibaut was suspended for three games after MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Chris Young determined the pitch was intentional. Woodward can't appeal and had to serve his suspension on Tuesday afternoon, while Gibaut is appealing.
Those suspensions were announced one day after Fernando Tatis Jr. caused a stir with his grand slam in the eighth inning of the Padres' 14-4 victory over the Rangers.
Tatis swung at a 3-0 pitch from reliever Juan Nicasio when the Padres were holding a 10-3 lead. Woodward expressed his displeasure after the game, but was a little more tempered on Tuesday.
"I'm not pounding my fist on the table saying this was absolutely horrendous,” Woodward said in his pregame Zoom call before the suspension was announced. “I just thought it went just past the line. But I don't know exactly what the lines are. I just find it funny that they're coming at me as old school.”
Gibaut then took over for Nicasio, and his first pitch went behind the back of Machado. Padres manager Jayce Tingler, who was on Woodward’s staff last year, was still upset about that Tuesday.
“Definitely not OK, didn’t expect it,” Tingler said. “It happened. That whole stuff is tired, throwing at players and throwing behind them. It’s just tired. But we’ve got a lot of confidence in … MLB to review it. They’ve been very adamant from the get-go that this won’t be tolerated.
Woodward, again speaking before the suspension was announced, expressed regret about Gibaut’s pitch.
“We don’t want to take matters in our own hands like that,” Woodward said. “Obviously, I get that. It is a different day and age. Back in the day, that was acceptable, but MLB has made it clear that’s not. Let’s do the best thing by getting him out. That’s the biggest message I am going to send today. Instead of retaliating, let’s try to get the kid out or get that team out.”
Tingler said Tatis was given the take sign before the 3-0 pitch was thrown. Tatis said he was “locked in” and missed it. But Tingler said that doesn’t warrant retaliation.
“If we’re looking to grow the game, let the guys play, promote ‘em and go,” Tingler said. “Are there times for some of the rules and some of the things out there? Absolutely, there are. But we’re not looking to break unwritten rules. We’re looking to win the game, and we’re looking to finish the game off, which is something I’ve said -- we’ve had some leads and haven’t been able to break it open."
A five-run lead has often been considered the “line” when dealing with late-inning strategy in a one-sided game. But Padres relievers entered Wednesday with a combined 6.19 ERA, the fourth highest in the National League.
The Rangers also trailed the Rockies, 10-3, going into the eighth inning on Sunday and almost came back. They made it 10-6 in the ninth and had the bases loaded before Scott Heineman made the final out.
“I’ve thought about a lot of the gray area in the game when it comes to the unwritten rules,” Woodward said. “We’ve moved past a lot of these things. The line is one for one person and one for the other. Just because I was upset about it doesn’t mean that was right. Doesn’t mean that it’s wrong that he swung.
“Did it cross the line? In my opinion, yes. I expect him to swing 2-0. I expect him to swing 3-1. That 3-0 pitch was always the one that you’d get in trouble for it if you swung at it at certain times. That was just common knowledge in the game. And now that it’s a little bit blurred, whatever. I’m willing to move on and kind of adapt to the new norm if that’s the case.”
Nicasio leaves team
There was one more twist to Monday’s affair. The Rangers announced before Tuesday’s game that Nicasio has asked for and received permission to return to his native Dominican Republic to be with his family.
The Rangers said the issue was not COVID-19-related and Nicasio has not asked out of the MLB season. The Rangers called up right-handed pitcher Luis García to replace him in the bullpen.