Orioles third baseman Manny Machado didn’t mask his frustration Monday that Major League Baseball upheld its decision to suspend him five games for his bat-flinging incident against the Oakland Athletics on June 8.
"It's very disappointing. I'm not going to stand here and smile about it and be excited about missing five games,” said Machado, whose suspension started Monday night against the Texas Rangers and will continue through Friday’s game in Boston. “Just go about it, put it behind us and serve the five games.”
Machado and Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, among others, met Wednesday for an appeal hearing before Joe Garagiola Jr., baseball's senior vice president of standards and on-field operations.
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The Orioles felt the suspension should have been reduced because past precedent for bat-throwers was four games, and that’s for hitters who additionally charged the mound (Trot Nixon in 2002 and Pedro Guerrero in 1988).
Machado threw his bat beyond third base and never stepped toward Oakland reliever Fernando Abad, who had thrown two consecutive inside pitches. After the benches cleared and order was restored, Machado and Abad were ejected.
“I didn’t throw the bat at the pitcher. I didn’t harm anybody. And I’m going to get five games. I didn’t charge the mound. I didn’t get in a fight,” Machado said. “But it is what it is, and now I have to serve the five games, and we are going to be down a man. And I’m not going to be able to help my team in these key games that are coming up going into that Boston series.”
Duquette said Machado received four games due to the bat-throwing incident and one other stemming from an altercation June 6 in which Machado slammed his helmet and exchanged words with Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson after a hard — but seemingly clean — tag by Donaldson that toppled Machado. Benches cleared briefly, but no punches were thrown.
Machado was not disciplined in that game, so Duquette felt like suspending him an extra game for that incident was inappropriate.
“I hadn’t heard of a case where they went back and retroactively applied a suspension,” Duquette said. “The umpires didn’t recommend any discipline in that game on Friday night because Manny stayed in the game, obviously. So that was kind of puzzling.”
Machado said he was particularly disappointed about the length of the suspension because he had been swinging the bat well — homering in three of his past four games.
“It just [stinks]. I was starting to feel a little better at the plate and here they come with that bomb, five games,” he said. “But you can’t do nothing about it. It was going to come.”
Machado can work out with his teammates and will get paid during the absence, but once the games start, he must leave the clubhouse and bench and watch elsewhere.
“That's what [stinks] about this whole thing. I've got to stay here and watch the games and know I can’t be out there on the field trying to help my team whichever way,” he said. “But I have a strong feeling. We're a great team, and we’re going to put this behind us and go out there and battle.”
The Orioles were not pleased that Abad was fined but not suspended for throwing at Machado and instigating the situation. Duquette said earlier this week that it was a “gross inequity” that Abad did not receive a suspension.
Duquette said Monday that because the umpiring crew did not warn Abad after the first inside pitch, baseball could not suspend him for the second.
“Without giving a warning to their pitcher, under the set of rules that defines these discipline matters, they didn’t really have the leverage to suspend that player,” Duquette said. “And our player ended up bearing the brunt of the incident with the five games.
"And really our team suffers because we are now without the services of that player for five games, and we are playing with a 24-man roster. So we argued for equity with Major League Baseball.”