By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun
8:34 PM EDT, July 14, 2011
The Orioles were already a little angry about the way they were treated in Boston, and that fire has been flamed by Major League Baseball's ruling Thursday to suspend two Orioles players and manager Buck Showalter and only one Red Sox player, slugger David Ortiz, after last weekend's bean-brawl series at Fenway Park.
"I definitely think they need to go back and do their homework," said Orioles left-hander Michael Gonzalez, who was suspended three games and fined $1,500 for throwing behind Ortiz on Sunday. "We're already appealing it. I think [MLB needs] to go back and go through the whole series as opposed to just going through one game and seeing how everything fell into place."
On Thursday, Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, announced the punishments. The Orioles saw four people disciplined: Gonzalez, closer Kevin Gregg (four-game suspension, $2,500 fine), Showalter (one game, undisclosed fine) and reliever Jim Johnson ($500 fine). The Red Sox had three: Ortiz (four-game suspension, undisclosed fine), catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (undisclosed fine) and pitcher John Lackey (undisclosed fine).
Gonzalez's ejection Sunday was the final incident in a series marked by flaring tempers and umpire intervention. The bad blood first erupted Friday night, when Gregg threw three inside pitches to Ortiz, then yelled at the Boston designated hitter when he swung at a 3-0 pitch, popped it up and didn't run. Ortiz, who had walked toward the pitcher's mound after the third inside pitch, charged Gregg after the pop-up, and the two men exchanged wild punches that did not land.
The benches cleared that night, two Orioles were hit Saturday (and Lackey was warned after the second plunking) and two Orioles and one Boston player were hit Sunday. In Sunday's game, Red Sox rookie starter Kyle Weiland, Boston manager Terry Francona, Gonzalez and Showalter were ejected.
Managers are automatically ejected when their pitchers hit a batter after a warning has been issued, and they are normally fined and suspended for one game.
So it was intriguing that Showalter was suspended for Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Indians — and replaced by bench coach John Russell — but Francona was not disciplined.
On further review, Garagiola apparently ruled Weiland, who was making his major league debut, did not intentionally hit Vladimir Guerrero. Therefore Francona did not have to be automatically suspended.
"When warnings are issued, it's pretty much standard [that managers get suspended]," Showalter said before knowing for sure the Francona ruling. "I don't really know. I'd be interested to know if that is the case."
Francona told The Boston Globe on Thursday night: "Why would I have been suspended? I didn't do anything. I didn't think they would suspend me."
Ortiz was not at the Red Sox's workout at Tropicana Field on Thursday, but it is expected he will appeal his fine.
Gregg called his punishment "very steep," and said he didn't think it was fair that he and Ortiz would receive similar discipline.
"You break down the situation," Gregg said. "He actually came out at me twice. I defended myself. To get the same time, suspension, I don't agree with it. That's why I am appealing it."
Gonzalez's and Gregg's appeals have not been scheduled, but they will be allowed to play until they have their hearing with Garagiola in New York.
In making his case, Gregg pointed out that the Red Sox lead the American League with 52 hit-by-pitches while Orioles pitchers have a league-low 19.
"They've hit  guys on the year; we've hit . We hit one guy with a changeup, and they hit the [four] guys that they hit. So, I don't know, I don't agree with it," Gregg said. "The way the process went down with the umpires, you know, it's their job to handle the games, keep them under control. That's their job. I will appeal my suspension and see what happens. There's not a lot to say about it."
Gonzalez said Orioles pitchers were particularly frustrated during last week's series in Boston, in which they were swept in four games.
"It was definitely frustrating. They obviously lead the league in batters hit. Obviously, a few of those seemed intentional," Gonzalez said. "They're hitting our star guys, and you're going to get frustrated as a pitcher. Those are your guys. It's kind of a family thing, and they were getting hit. Yeah, anyone's going to be pretty mad about it."
Boston catcher and team captain Jason Varitek said both sides need to put the series behind them when the Red Sox come to town Monday for three games at Camden Yards.
"We have to concentrate and play baseball," Varitek said. "Those things tend to linger on [more] externally than they do internally. Both teams need to go out and try and win baseball games."
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