CINCINNATI -- Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos received a two-game suspension and a fine from Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing scuffle on Saturday against the Cardinals. Castellanos is appealing the suspension, so he is eligible to play in Monday’s three-game series opener vs. the Pirates.
MLB senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill issued the discipline on Castellanos “for his aggressive actions and for instigating” the incident between himself and Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford.
On Saturday in the fourth inning during a 9-6 Cincinnati victory at Great American Ball Park, Castellanos was hit by a fastball in the ribs from Woodford and showed his displeasure before taking first base. Before that, on Opening Day on Thursday, Castellanos flipped his bat and skipped following his home run against St. Louis -- although the Cardinals denied the HBP was retaliation.
Later in the inning, Castellanos scored from third base on a Woodford wild pitch with a headfirst slide that saw him collide into the pitcher as he covered the plate.
Castellanos stood up, yelled and flexed before walking away. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina took exception and shoved Castellanos from behind. That sparked the benches and bullpens to clear.
“What I saw was a really aggressive, big baserunning play by Nick … where he had a great read and made a really aggressive and great slide to get in and score a big run in the game,” Reds manager David Bell said after the game. “I know he got up, he was excited, I saw him celebrate a little bit. Then I saw him walk off, walk away and the next thing I knew, I saw a lot of people running on the field.”
After tempers calmed down, a second scuffle broke out on the outfield grass while Molina and Castellanos remained peacefully conversing by the first-base dugout.
Castellanos was the only player to be suspended from the incident. MLB also issued undisclosed fines to Molina, Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks, Reds third baseman Eugenio Suárez and Reds outfielder Jesse Winker. Hicks and Suárez were the primary players involved in the outfield skirmish.
"I am disappointed that Nick was suspended even though he did not initiate physical contact," Bell said on Monday, after the suspension was announced. "I am hopeful that when baseball is played with emotion, the players will be protected from dangerous and unnecessary retaliation."