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Orioles' Manny Machado could face suspension, but there's little precedent

Now that Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has apologized for Sunday’s bat-throwing incident, his fate is in the hands of Major League Baseball.

A decision on a suspension is expected to come down at some point on Tuesday. I’d be surprised if Machado didn’t receive at least a four- or five-game suspension. It might be longer.

There’s been little precedent set for bat-throwing incidents, but 12 years ago, there was a similar situation involving Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon.

In 2002, Nixon was suspended four games for intentionally throwing his bat toward the mound at Tampa Bay Devil Rays right-hander Ryan Rupe.

In that game, Nixon’s bat throw came after Rupe hit Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra and Shea Hillenbrand in the first inning. Later in that game, Red Sox right-hander Frank Castillo threw at Tampa Bay’s Randy Winn and was issued a five-game suspension and a fine.

Nixon swung at a pitch and his bat twirled past the mound. It did not hit Rupe, and landed near Tampa Bay second baseman Brett Abernathy. When you look at the way the bat left Nixon’s hands, it was clear it was intentional.

That’s been the only bat-throwing incident in the major leagues since 2000.

As a minor leaguer, current Orioles outfielder Delmon Young was suspended 50 games when a bat he flung hit the home plate umpire following a strikeout call in 2006.

In the 1972 American League Champion Series, Oakland A’s shortstop Bert Campaneris threw his bat at Detroit reliever Lerrin LaGrow after Campaneris was hit by a pitch.

That instance was a little different, because Campaneris reared back and flung his bat directly at the pitcher after he was hit.

Campaneris was suspended for the remainder of the ALCS and the first seven games of the 1973 season, but was allowed to play in the World Series, which was won by the A’s in seven games. He also received a $500 fine.

I think the Machado incident was more similar to the Nixon incident than the other two. And the fact that Machado issued an apology should earn him some leniency.

However, the commissioner’s office could look at not just Sunday’s events but also Friday’s, when Machado had a confrontation with Josh Donaldson after what Machado thought was a hard tag. It could also group that with statements from A’s players that Machado hit Derek Norris on his backswing twice and showed no concern whether he was OK.

Because the story received such national recognition – in the 24 hours following the incident, Machado was criticized not only by A’s players but the national media – Machado could face harsher punishment.

-- Lost in the events of Monday was Bud Norris’ best outing of the year. Norris gave the Orioles – and their bullpen -- a boost by going eight shutout innings. The offense did its job by taking advantage and scoring enough runs that it wasn’t a close game in the ninth.

The Orioles are 24-9 when they score four or more runs and 8-21 when they score three or fewer runs.

-- The O’s are 14-8 against AL East opponents, owning the most wins against the division of any team. That’s good, because their next 12 games are against AL East opponents.

-- Also lost in the shuffle was Chris Davis’ bunt single against the shift. We’ve all be waiting for Davis to drop one down the third-base line against the shift and he finally did it on Monday. Davis was initially called out, but the play was reversed after Orioles manager Buck Showalter challenged the call.

It was the first bunt single of Davis' career.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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