Major League Baseball has hit Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon with a three-game suspension for, in its eyes, intentionally throwing at Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in the fifth inning of the teams' game at Rogers Centre on Sunday.
It was the second time Bautista had been hit in the game, and it came after a warning had been issued.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter received a one-game suspension for Simon's hitting Bautista after the warning. Showalter will serve his suspension tonight during the Orioles' series opener at the Tampa Bay Rays.
Simon was scheduled to begin serving his ban tonight, but because he filed an appeal, his suspension will be held in abeyance until the process is finished. His hearing his scheduled for Thursday.
"I was surprised," Simon said. "I don’t try to hit him. He’s a good friend of mine. There’s no reason to hit him. His manager thinks [Showalter] brought me in to hit him because I’m the guy that usually throws the eighth inning or ninth inning. But the reason they bring me in is because there was no pitchers left and [Rick] VandenHurk started. I’m the only righty in the bullpen."
Bench coach Jeff Datz will serve as the Orioles' manager tonight, prompting Showalter to say, "I think the further [I'm] away from it, the better chance we got."
Showalter reiterated that the Orioles weren't throwing at Bautista on purpose.
"We had one right-handed pitcher down there who already knew that he was going to spell Vandy. I’m going to call down there and say, ‘Hey, you’re my only guy and I want you to hit Bautista after throwing two balls?,’" Showalter said. "You go through it, but I understand how it looks and I would have upset about it too, and I would have done what the umpire did. There’s nothing you can do about it. It looked that way. I can tell you that it wasn’t intentional, but I understand how you can feel differently. Simon was the only guy we had right-handed in that situation. He already knew that he was probably going to be the first guy in and when he hit him, it really put us in a tough spot because we didn’t want to use [Matt] Albers or [David] Hernandez or any of the guys that we had to use yesterday."