Washington Nationals reliever Jonathan Papelbon received a three-game suspension and undisclosed fine from MLB for “intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area” of third baseman Manny Machado during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 4-3 Orioles victory at Nationals Park.
The suspension, handed down Friday afternoon by MLB vice president of standards and on-field operations Joe Garagiola, Jr., was scheduled to begin immediately, but Papelbon plans to appeal the suspension, the Nationals announced.
Papelbon’s suspension is in line with previous precedent for relief pitchers committing the same offense.
“Most of the time you just trust the process and the people,” Showalter said. “I’m comfortable with the action that they took. I’m not comfortable with the action. I’m comfortable with the action that [MLB] took.
“Most of that stuff is on precedence. I’ve been in a few of those hearings, unfortunately, and just about all of those things are done on precedents. When you’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do, you just look at like instances.”
Machado had hit a go-ahead and eventual game-winning home run in his previous at-bat before facing Papelbon in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game. Papelbon’s first pitch to Machado was high and tight. Two pitches later, a 93-mph fastball from Papelbon plunked a ducking Machado on the left shoulder.
Machado glared and yelled at Papelbon, who was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Mike Ripperger, and both dugouts cleared. After the game, Machado called the act “cowardly.”
“Pitcher’s out there, the ball can slip out of your hand, but when you throw at the head on first pitch right from the get-go, then you throw a curveball and then you throw again at the head, that’s just [BS]," Machado said after the game. "It’s coward stuff. It’s just cowardly.”
The Orioles won Thursday’s series finale, 5-4, without further incident, sweeping their three-game series against the Nationals. The Orioles open their final road series of the regular-season tonight in Boston.
Machado declined to comment on Papelbon’s suspension, saying through a team spokesperson that he addressed his feelings on the issue after Wednesday’s game.