Kemp, Chirinos suspended 1 game for fracas

Dodgers slugger to appeal; Rangers backstop serving suspension Friday

June 15th, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- Major League Baseball on Friday announced that Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Rangers catcher have each been given one-game suspensions and fined an undisclosed amount for their altercation in the third inning of Wednesday's game.
Kemp has elected to appeal, and will be allowed to play until that process is complete. The veteran outfielder, who started in left field for the Dodgers against the Giants on Friday, said he was shocked and surprised by the league's ruling, admitting his displeasure with the decision was cause for his appeal.
"Nothing happened," Kemp said. "Just a little pushing. I've seen way worse happen. So I guess we'll see what they decide, but I don't agree with it."
Chirinos decided to sit out Friday's game against the Rockies and the Rangers called up catcher from Double-A Frisco to serve as a one-game backup catcher.
"It's obvious we want to move through this type of situation and move on," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Chirinos left the clubhouse Friday afternoon before the suspensions were announced.
"I didn't expect there would be suspensions," Banister said. "I thought in the scrum it was pretty benign and it was over pretty quickly. The shoving match looked a little worse than it was. But Major League Baseball doesn't want that environment in a game. That was taken into account."

Both players were ejected from Wednesday's game -- a 3-2 Dodgers' win in 11 innings in L.A. -- after their collision at home plate, which ignited a benches-clearing scrum. Kemp attempted to score from second base on a two-out single by . Chirinos fielded a throw from right fielder and his momentum carried him into Kemp's path. Without a clear avenue to the plate, Kemp then lunged into Chirinos, both fell, and when they got up, they shoved each other. Kemp was out on the play.
"I didn't think I did anything wrong," Kemp said Friday. "Like I said -- just two guys -- I thought it was a clean play. A little frustration, a little shoving and then it was over. It shouldn't be a big deal."
Said Chirinos following the incident Wednesday: "I got mad. When he was starting to get up, he kind of leaned into me with his shoulder. That's when I pushed him. Part of the game. Sorry for the fans that are watching that. It's not supposed to happen, but it happens, man. I guess he got mad when I pushed him when he kind of went after me with his shoulder. After that, it was emotion and kind of happened."
Baseball's rules regarding collision plays at the plate have been updated for the safety of catchers, and a runner that deviates from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher is out. But Wednesday's umpire crew chief Bill Welke said that wasn't the case with this collision, because the throw brought Chirinos into the path of Kemp and not the other way around. If Chirinos had blocked Kemp's path without the ball, Kemp would have been safe.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he felt the decision to appeal was certainly the right move on the club's part.
"I think you can debate who instigated that confrontation," Roberts said. "There wasn't a punch thrown on [Kemp's] part. So I think, obviously, emotions on both sides. It's old-school baseball and both teams move forward. That's just my opinion."
Banister contended that Chirinos wasn't at fault for the fracas either.
"Robby did nothing wrong," Banister said. "The throw took him into another area and he became vulnerable. Part of the rule is that if Kemp had been halfway down the basepath, it would have been an illegal play. But where he was at, he was in the act of scoring. He was within his rights. He has to protect himself. Unfortunately, both players were in vulnerable positions. Both are big men. It was a pretty violent collision."
The Rangers had an extra casualty in the affair. Reliever Chris Martin tripped over the gate as he rushed out to support Chirinos and suffered a sore right calf muscle. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday.
"I fought the gate and the gate won," Martin said.
Said Kemp of Martin: "I hope he's OK. Didn't mean to start that."