Major League Baseball suspended Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts one game and gave Joe Kelly an eight-game ban for Tuesday’s benches-clearing incident with the Houston Astros. Kelly is appealing his suspension and remains available to play for the time being.
Manager Dusty Baker was fined, but neither he nor any Astros players were suspended as a result of the dustup. Someone from the Houston dugout, which some have alleged was Baker, used an expletive while shouting at Kelly to get back on the mound after recording an out at first base.
Kelly’s penalty is the equivalent of a 22-game suspension during a normal 162-game season.
“Kelly, who has previously been suspended in his career for intentional throwing, threw a pitch in the area of the head of Alex Bregman and later taunted Carlos Correa, which led to the benches clearing,” MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Chris Young wrote as part of the announcement.
Back in February, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred warned teams about seeking retribution by throwing at Astros players this season. MLB also previously informed clubs suspensions and fines could be levied if physical distancing guidelines were broken.
Whether Kelly intentionally threw at Alex Bregman or simply struggled with his command remained a difference of opinion in the aftermath of the Dodgers’ win.
Manager Dave Roberts indicated Wednesday he anticipated a quick ruling from MLB. “I got a call this morning from the league, and they’re trying to be swift about this,” he said. “They’re kind of taking information from all parties, and they’ll make a decision. But right now I don’t know the outcome.
“They weren’t pleased. Baseball right now, we’re under a microscope, which we should be. So, us as coaches, myself included, I have to do a better job of making sure guys stay on the bench. Last night, when tempers flared, I tried to get out there to keep it at bay and minimize it. I’ve also got to make sure guys stay on the bench to follow the social distancing protocols.”
Roberts planned to address the team prior to first pitch Wednesday about the importance of remaining on the bench under any circumstance. Bench coach Bob Geren is managing in Roberts’ place on Wednesday.
With the Dodgers and Astros still having one game remaining in the series, Roberts considered it a “possibility” umpires will issue warnings to both teams prior to first pitch. “But umpires typically don’t like to issue warnings before the game is played because it kind of gets players and pitchers on edge,” Roberts added.
“And whether warnings are issued or not, it’s still a judgement call on whether there was clear intent on hitting a player.”
Baker accuses Kelly
Baker put the blame squarely on Kelly’s shoulders, calling him ‘dirty’ for purportedly throwing at Bregman’s head. Baker also was upset with umpires warning both teams rather than just Kelly and the Dodgers.
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