Sale, Samardzija suspended following fracas
Royals' Ventura, Volquez, Herrera and Cain also face discipline
CHICAGO -- White Sox starting pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija each received five-game suspensions for their role in the on-field fracas taking place during the bottom of the seventh inning of the Royals' 3-2, 13-inning victory Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Six players in total were suspended with Joe Garagiola, Jr., Major League Baseball's Senior Vice President of Standards & On-Field Operations, making the announcement Saturday morning.
Kansas City pitchers Yordano Ventura (seven games), Edinson Volquez (five) and Kelvin Herrera (two) and outfielder Lorenzo Cain (two) also received suspensions. The disruption started on an inning-ending ground ball back to Ventura hit by Adam Eaton, with both players exchanging words before the benches and bullpens emptied.
According to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, who spoke in a Saturday conference call with the afternoon's game already postponed, Sale and Samardzija will appeal. They will make their next scheduled starts in Baltimore, with Samardzija set for Monday and Sale for Tuesday.
Hahn was happy with the players' next-day reaction of wishing they had handled things a little bit differently. He added that everybody on both sides had some elements of their behavior that they wished they had handled different during the incident.
"I respect the fact that our players stood up and took responsibility for their actions and expressed remorse over those things that they wish had been handled better," Hahn said. "But it is something that happens from time to time as part of the game.
"From a team unity standpoint, there are some positives at least to take away from it. There are real negative repercussions of this, but hopefully from the standpoint of in that clubhouse and the guys knowing that they will fight for each other, there is at least some positive to take away."
Those negative White Sox repercussions go beyond the suspensions. Hahn announced on the call that right-handed reliever Matt Albers will be placed on the disabled due to a compression fracture suffered to a finger on his right hand during Thursday's melee.
Getting these discipline decisions quickly "was perhaps not unexpected, but certainly was much appreciated," according to Hahn, with the White Sox having more time to react and plan accordingly. All six players received an undisclosed fine along with the suspension. In addition, White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers received an undisclosed fine.
Sale and Samardzija both were ejected from Thursday's game, along with Cain, Volquez and Ventura. Sale then made an in-game visit to the Royals' clubhouse, but cooler heads prevailed before anything escalated. Hahn had good conversations with Sale about that situation both Friday and Saturday morning.
There certainly seems to be no worry on Hahn's part in connection to Sale managing his intensely-competitive side. Hahn understands the emotion involved in Thursday's moment and what Sale was hoping to accomplish, while at the same time realizing there was "a better way to handle these things going forward."
"Part of what makes these guys good is the competitive fire. Part of what makes a guy a front-end starter is that fight, that passion and the desire to excel between the lines," Hahn said. "Certainly that's part of their makeup and sometimes that carries over outside of the lines.
"As they continue in their big league careers and mature, they realize how to, ideally, keep that between the lines. But in terms of Chris' makeup or character, anything along those lines, no, there's absolutely no concern. He has a special makeup and that's part of what makes him great."