NEW YORK (AP) — Pittsburgh pitcher Keone Kela was suspended for 10 games, wild-swinging Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett for eight and Yasiel Puig for three after a furious brawl between the Pirates and Reds.
Major League Baseball issued eight suspensions Thursday, two days after the fight at Great American Ball Park.
Three players on each team were suspended, and all elected to appeal. They will be allowed to play until the process is complete.
Reds manager David Bell was suspended six games, starting Thursday night when Cincinnati visits Atlanta. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was penalized two games, to begin Friday night when the Pirates play the New York Mets.
Puig was suspended for his aggressive actions on what turned out to be his last day with the Reds. The outfielder was later traded to Cleveland, which hosted Houston on Thursday night.
“Things happen in the moment. You need to defend your teammates,” Puig said. “Off the field, we’re all friends.”
Pirates infielder José Osuna was suspended five games while Pittsburgh pitcher Kyle Crick and Reds pitcher Jared Hughes each got three.
Bell and the Reds became enraged after Kela threw near Derek Dietrich’s head in the late innings. These NL Central rivals have a history of run-ins that included a fracas in April at PNC Park that began after Dietrich stood at the plate to admire a home run — the Pirates have thrown close to him since then.
“This comes down to, really, one of our guys, the ball was thrown at his head. What were we supposed to do? If we don’t, I can’t live without doing anything to protect one of our guys. It’s that simple,” Bell said.
“If we don’t do anything, if we don’t protect ourselves, then their pitcher just gets away with throwing at one of our guy’s head,” he said.
Bell said he hopes the suspended Reds have their penalties reduced. He disagreed with the length of his ban.
“I didn’t have a say. I didn’t talk to anyone. I want to be in the dugout,” he said. “We’ll be fine, but I have a responsibility to be in the dugout, so that part, I’m remorseful. It’s my job. But I can’t live with handling it any other way.”
All of the suspended players were fined undisclosed amounts. Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams, Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Reds outfielder Phillip Ervin also were fined, as were several players on both teams for taking part in the brawl while on the injured list.
“The incidents between these two clubs remain a source of concern, and it’s reflected by the level of discipline we are handing down today,” MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre said.
“Everyone on the field should be aware of the example they are setting for fans, particularly young people. I firmly expect these two managers and all others to hold their players accountable for appropriate conduct and to guide them in the right direction,” he said.
The Reds and Pirates next play on Aug. 23 at Pittsburgh — that game, incidentally, was already billed as fireworks night.
Kela was penalized for throwing a pitch near the head of Dietrich and “for his role in instigating the bench-clearing incident.”
Bell said he thought the 10-game penalty — double the ban for what some high-and-tight pitches draw — was a message.
“But that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t protect ourselves. If we wouldn’t have done anything about it, then he would have got away with it,” Bell said.
Garrett was docked for “for inciting the bench-clearing incident by running to the area outside the Pirates dugout and throwing a punch” in the ninth inning. Hughes has suspended for throwing a pitch at Starling Marte.
Bell’s penalty combined several elements — returning to the field after already being ejected, escalating the fight, the Reds’ intentional pitch at Marte and “his numerous ejections this season,” MLB said.
Hurdle’s suspension took into account “his club’s multiple intentional pitches thrown at Derek Dietrich this season.”
The Reds and Pirates tangled in April after Dietrich watched his home run, causing the benches to empty. Puig was at the center of that scrape, taking on the Pirates by himself at one point. Puig got a two-game suspension and Bell a one-game ban.
There were eight ejections Tuesday night, with tempers flaring after Kela’s purpose pitch. Votto yelled into the Pirates dugout between innings, taking exception to the pitch. Separately, Bell was ejected for arguing after a strike was called with Puig at bat in the eighth.
Hughes hit Marte with his first pitch in the ninth, bringing things to a boil. Garrett later traded words from the mound with Williams, who was on the Pirates bench. Garrett then ran to the dugout and started swinging as the benches emptied.
Bell emerged from the Reds dugout and ran across the field toward Hurdle, who was shoved to the ground. Pirates hitting coach Rick Eckstein got Bell in a headlock. Bell screamed profanities at Hurdle as he left the field.
Pittsburgh won 11-4, and Bell later contended the Pirates throw at batters purposely. Bell and Hurdle exchanged lineup cards with the umpires before Wednesday’s game but didn’t interact, and Cincinnati won 4-1 in a quiet game.
Hurdle pointed out pregame Wednesday that he was hit in the head three times as a player. He said he’s never told one of his pitchers to throw at a hitter, contrary to Bell’s opinion.
“He’s going to think what he thinks, he’s going to feel what he feels,” Hurdle said. “I just shared with him, as he was telling me what I was (during the brawl), I just said you have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Bell, Puig, Garrett and bench coach Freddie Benavides were ejected from the Reds. Williams, Crick, Chris Archer and Francisco Cervelli — who is on the injured list — were ejected from the Pirates.
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