PITTSBURGH — Major League Baseball came down hard on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, handing out eight suspensions and a dozen fines as punishment for a bench-clearing brawl.
Yet even with Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy getting 10 games and infielder Eric Hinske five for their roles in Tuesday’s fight, it might not be enough to quell the lingering hostility between the NL West rivals.
“No, it’s not over yet, not at all,” said Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, given a one-game ban. “I don’t think anybody thinks it’s over.”
Kennedy’s suspension is the longest handled out by the league for on-field conduct since Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett was handed a 10-game suspension for an incident with White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski on May 20, 2006.
Kennedy is appealing the decision, pointing to his track record as proof he’s not a troublemaker.
“Ten games, I think they’re trying to set an example,” he said before Arizona’s game in San Diego on Friday night.
Hinske is also appealing and put most of the blame on Dodger rookie Yaisel Puig, who was right in the middle of things but only received a fine.
“I’ve been a model citizen in this league for 12 years,” Hinske said. “And then there’s Puig, who’s been in the league for 12 days and he gets no games. So you tell me what’s right.”
Belisario served a one-game suspension on Friday night for “aggressive actions” while Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell and infielder Skip Schumaker appealed the two-game suspensions they received from MLB Senior Vice President Joe Garagiola Jr.
Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly and Arizona’s Kirk Gibson were given one-game bans, while Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire must sit two games. Bench coach Trey Hillman filled in for Mattingly on Friday night when Los Angeles played at Pittsburgh while Arizona bench coach Alan Trammell took over for Gibson in San Diego.
Garagiola cited Kennedy for intentionally throwing a pitch at the head of Zack Greinke after a warning had been issued and Hinske for leaving the dugout and his “aggressive actions.”
Mattingly was penalized for his conduct and Gibson for Kennedy’s actions following a warning. While Kennedy feels singled out, Mattingly disagrees.
“To me (Kennedy) seemed like he was kind of the instigator and started it and piled on and he got the most,” Mattingly said. “It just seems fair.”
Mattingly seemed a bit puzzled by Schumaker’s penalty, saying he felt if the veteran infielder “had his hands on anybody, he was pulling people off.”
Schumaker declined to talk about the suspension, saying only he has feelings about it but didn’t want to share them.
All eight handed suspensions were also fined, as were Puig, Greinke, Arizona catcher Miguel Montero and Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra.
MLB fined the Dodgers for allowing players on the disabled list to leave the dugout and enter the field during the brawl. MLB also banned disable list players on the Dodgers and Diamondbacks from sitting in their dugouts through Sunday.
The players appealing the ruling will be able to play until after hearings and final decisions.
Kennedy hit Puig with a pitch that deflected off his back to his nose in the sixth, and Greinke hit Montero on the back in the seventh, drawing a warning from umpires. Both teams charged onto the field, but the scrum broke up quickly with no punches thrown.
Kennedy then hit Greinke on the upper left shoulder in the bottom half of the inning, and the ball deflected off his helmet. A prolonged and more heated scuffle ensued against a railing on the first base side.
Montero, joked that he kept getting hit at the bottom of the pile but “obviously they are probably my teammates that were punching me because we’re the only ones who got suspended” but isn’t sure why Greinke was spared a suspension.
“Ian got 10 days and Zack got zero days when he admitted that he hit me on purpose, seriously?” Montero said. “‘We just give him a fine because he was already seven weeks out.’ Well, he can miss one more. C’mon. Give me a break with that.”
Kennedy, Gibson and Diamondbacks coach Turner Ward were ejected after the shoving match. Puig, McGwire and Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario also were tossed.
Mattingly had to be restrained as he tried to get at Gibson, and they exchanged words briefly. McGwire and third base coach Matt Williams grabbed each other’s shirts in a tense standoff and shouted at each other.
Mattingly said he was only playing “peacekeeper” and understands the fight will likely have some carryover effect, even if it is only in the media.
“There’s no way for us to go to Arizona now without us having to talk about it,” he said. “There’s going to be an effort to keep it alive and it won’t be by the players or us.”