The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen is expected to receive a boost this week with the potential returns of Pedro Baez and Joe Kelly. Both right-handers have made progress in their respective recoveries, recently advancing to facing hitters.
For Kelly, however, he still has to serve a five-game suspension upon being activated. That of course was brought on for his actions against the Houston Astros at the end of July.
In the opening contest at Minute Maid Park, Kelly sailed a fastball over Alex Bregman’s head and traded jabs with Carlos Correa — leading benches to clear. Nothing substantial came of the incident, but MLB nonetheless handed Kelly an eight-game ban.
Despite the suspension being reduced to five games, the number still seems excessive considering the lesser punishments given to other players around the league. New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman received only a three-game ban for recently throwing a fastball behind Tampa Bay Rays infielder Mike Brosseau’s head.
“It definitely looks kind of fishy for myself,” Kelly said of the length of his suspension compared to Chapman’s. “I originally had thoughts on when I saw the whole Chapman thing and I obviously knew that he was a person, and with the language they used against me was I was the ‘repeat offender.’
“I already had one strike on my record and Chapman had the same exact thing. But obviously I probably said a little bit more words than Chapman has said. I don’t think the words that I used to the people who make these decisions were very nice when the appeal process went down behind closed doors.
“I ruffled some feathers, so it just shows that their feelings get hurt just like everyone else’s feelings get hurt. So it is what it is. Like I said, I would still like to know what they think, what the difference is, and if it’s not the same, what’s the standard for it because obviously if it was eight, three games for the suspension and five for the face, or supposedly making the other team leave benches.
“That’s a lot of games for that but I don’t really have any more thoughts other than that. They made the decision and that’s what it is. I didn’t think there was too much weight held to their decision on that aspect, I think they’re just throwing s— out there. But it is what it is, I can’t change that.”
Kelly hopes to leave the past in the past and focus on helping the Dodgers get over the hump when he returns. “When I come back, I’m a pitcher that needs to be focused on winning a World Series,” he said.
“It’s one of those things that I can’t serve my suspension until myself, the team, the front office, all feels like we’re on the same page with being able to actually participate on the Dodgers and being able to do it at a high level.
“So until that suspension’s over, I’ll always have a little bit of a grudge against some decisions that were made. But like I said, it is what it is and we’ll have to move on.”
Dave Roberts compares Kelly’s suspension to Chapman’s
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes there are similarities with Kelly and Chapman, but stopped short of directly comparing the suspension lengths.
“I saw it. I know there’s some history between the two teams, but I don’t know Chapman’s history with that and suspensions, so it’s not necessarily apples to apples as far as what’s deemed intent with Joe and Chapman,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“I do know to go glove side, at the head, that’s very difficult for a pitcher to do. I don’t know much and I’m just glad I’m not a part of that situation.”
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