Major League Baseball has handed down fines and suspensions to 14 players and staff who participated in a brawl during Sunday’s game between Texas and Toronto. MLB senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr. handed down the penalties.
The Texas Rangers’ second baseman, Rougned Odor, was suspended for eight games and fined $5,000 for the incident involving the punching of the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista in the jaw. Bautista was also suspended, receiving a one game penalty for a hard takeout slide on Odor and for his postgame comments.
Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez received a three game suspension for striking Prince Fielder with a pitch. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was suspended for one game for aggressive actions. Odor, Bautista and Chavez have each appealed their penalties. Andrus elected to serve his penalty Tuesday at Oakland. Bautista has refused to speak to reporters, while
Texas pitcher Matt Bush received a fine for intentionally throwing at Bautista, while another pitcher, Sam Dyson, was fined for aggressive actions. Rangers Robinson Chirinos and A.J. Griffin received fines for being on the field while on the disabled list. Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson and outfielder Kevin Pillar were also fined for aggressive actions. Donaldson offered mostly one-word answers when asked to comment on the incident and penalties.
Manager John Gibbons, who was ejected five innings before the fight but returned to the field, was suspended for three games for inciting additional fighting. Gibbons said he returned to the field to calm the situation and protect his players. Gibbons was also suspended one game last August for returning to the field during an altercation with Kansas City after being ejected earlier that game.
Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele also received a fine for aggressive actions. Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who was acting manager following Gibbons’ ejection, was fined for Chavez’s intentional actions after teams had been warned by umpires. Hale will manage the Blue Jays while Gibbons serves his suspension. Blue Jays first base coach Tim Leiper received a one game suspension for returning to the dugout following his ejection. Assistant hitting coach Eric Owens will coach first base in Leiper’s place.
The origins of Sunday’s brawl can be traced back to Oct. 14. That day, Bautista hit a tiebreaking three-run homer against Dyson in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the AL Division Series. He smugly admired the ball as it bounced off the front of the second deck then dramatically flipped his bat, angering the Blue Jays and their fans.
In Sunday’s game, the last regular-season game between the teams this year, Bush opened the eighth inning with a 96 mph fastball that hit Bautista on the left arm and ricocheted off a thigh.
A couple of plays later, Bautista slid hard and late into the right leg of Odor, sliding 8 feet past second base. Odor shoved Bautista with both hands, then threw a punch to his jaw that made Bautista’s head snap back. Dugouts and bullpens then emptied in the most severe bench-clearing brawl seen in several years.