Kennedy suspended 10 games as part of MLB discipline
D-backs righty one of eight suspensions stemming from fracas with Dodgers
Major League Baseball has announced penalties for 12 members of the D-backs and Dodgers involved in the benches-clearing incidents Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, with Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy receiving the stiffest discipline with a 10-game suspension and both managers suspended for one game.
Along with the punishment handed down to Kennedy, D-backs infielder Eric Hinske received a five-game suspension, Dodgers pitcher J.P. Howell and Dodgers outfielder Skip Schumaker were hit with two-game suspensions, and Dodgers pitcher Ronald Belisario received a one-game suspension, all for their "aggressive actions during the incidents," according to an MLB press release issued Friday. All player suspensions are subject to appeal; Belisario said he will serve his suspension Friday.
Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire will serve a two-game suspension, while Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson are suspended for a game. Those suspensions cannot be appealed and begin Friday.
Mattingly, meeting with reporters before the Dodgers were to begin a three-game series at Pittsburgh while Trey Hillman filled in as manager for the day, said it was fitting that Kennedy's suspension was the longest, the 10 days amounting to two starts if it is upheld.
"To me he seemed like kind of the instigator, started it, piled on, he got the most. Just seems fair," Mattingly said of Kennedy, whose two hit batsmen were central to the confrontation.
The D-backs are playing in San Diego on Friday night, and key figures in the incident are expected be available for comment prior to the game.
In addition to the eight suspensions announced by MLB vice president for standards and on-field operations Joe Garagiola Jr., four players were fined for their actions in the fight-marred game: Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero and D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra. All eight players receiving suspensions also were fined. The amounts of the fines were not immediately disclosed.
Also, the Dodgers were fined for allowing players currently on the disabled list to leave the dugout, violating MLB rules. As a result, neither the Dodgers nor the D-backs may have players who are on the DL sitting on the bench through the weekend.
While Belisario elected to serve his one-game suspension, Howell and Schumaker have said they will appeal their suspensions, with Schumaker adding he was advised not to speak to reporters about the incident until the appeal is resolved. There has been no official word yet whether the D-backs' Kennedy and Hinske will appeal. While a player awaits his appeal, his suspension will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.
On Twitter, Kennedy's teammates on the Arizona pitching staff were among the first to share their opinions on the penalties levied not only against their fellow pitcher but also Hinske:
Starter Daniel Hudson (@DHuddy41): "So if you throw punches when the benches clear, you get fined. You get sucker punched, you get suspended five games. Makes sense #not"
Starter Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32): "Hinske's had the soup and ended up paying for someone else's surf & turf"
Relief pitcher Brad Ziegler (@BradZiegler): "It's a joke that throwing at someone is viewed as so much worse than running off the bench, tackling people, and throwing haymakers."
The punishment levied Friday stems from events in Tuesday night's game between National League West foes, which eventually spun into a melee in the seventh inning that spilled violently toward a camera well behind home plate at Dodger Stadium.
The tension began to build in the sixth inning, when Kennedy threw a pitch up and in to Puig, who was struck in the shoulder and on the face but took first base. In the top of the seventh, Greinke struck Montero in the back, with both benches clearing but no punches thrown. In the bottom half of the inning, Kennedy hit Greinke in the left shoulder with a pitch, knocking Greinke's helmet off and setting off a full-fledged fracas on the field.
Because both benches had been warned after Greinke hit Montero, Kennedy and Gibson were ejected automatically once Greinke was hit. McGwire, D-backs assistant hitting coach Turner Ward, Puig and Belisario were also eventually ejected.
Kennedy's suspension was for "intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area" of Greinke. Mattingly was cited for the actions of his club and for his conduct, while Gibson was suspended for the "intentional actions of Kennedy" in the incident.
Greinke, speaking to reporters in Pittsburgh on Friday, was being cautious with his words in reacting to the news of the discipline being handed down.
"Every answer I have can be put in a way to make thinks wrong, you know?" Greinke said.
Belisario, a teammate of Montero's on Venezuela's World Baseball Classic roster, was much more adamant that the D-backs catcher should have been suspended for inciting the pitch that struck Greinke.
"He was the one that started that fight. That's not right," Belisario said.
After Greinke struck Montero in the back in the top of the seventh, Montero stared out to the pitcher as benches cleared without punches being thrown. Greinke said Friday that he made sure not to make eye contact with the D-backs catcher when he came to the plate in the bottom half of the inning, but saw on video later that Montero was staring his way.
"I wasn't even paying attention to it, I was just walking up to hit," Greinke said. "But looking on video, he was. Catchers do that just to see the attitude of the hitter coming up, if he's going to swing or take. I made a point not to make eye contact with him because of what just happened. Nothing good could have came from it."
Mattingly, meanwhile, said the fact that Montero was looking at Greinke a certain way didn't matter.
Said Mattingly: "How do you write that into a suspension: Montero looked at him before he hit Greinke? Suspended for aggressive looking? Looking at him with bad intentions? I thought they were all OK, I was fine with everything."
Count Greinke among those who won't know until the D-backs and Dodgers meet again July 8-10 in Phoenix whether this episode between division rivals is in the past.
"I don't know how everyone feels about it on their side, or on our side," Greinke said. "If one person, [that's] all it takes, if one person is still upset it could start the whole thing over again. You can't really predict how it's going to end. It could be an accidental thing that starts it over again.
"If something is done on accident, it could be misinterpreted, emotions are going to be a little higher, you hope nothing happens, but people make mistakes. And people might make mistakes on purpose."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.