Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos became the first player to receive a suspension this season for his role in a benches-clearing incident last Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 29-year-old homered on Opening Day two days prior and skipped out of the batter’s box before flipping his bat. Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford seemingly retaliated by hitting Castellanos with a pitch in the fourth inning of Saturday’s contest.
Castellanos retrieved the ball and offered to throw it back to Woodford before heading to first base. He would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch and then came face-to-face with Woodford at home plate.
As Castellanos was walking away, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina ran to confront him, prompting both teams’ benches to clear. Castellanos was the only player ejected and he apologized for his actions after the game.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, who was teammates with Castellanos on the Reds last season, came to his defense on Twitter:
MLBs note to players. Don’t get excited about big moments or play with intensity, we will fine you and suspend you if you do… #FreeNickCastellanos
— Trevor Bauer (トレバー・バウアー) (@BauerOutage) April 5, 2021
Opinion: baseball would be way more intriguing if it was like hockey and there were brawls every 4 or 5 games. Love that energy. Do you agree or disagree and why?
— Trevor Bauer (トレバー・バウアー) (@BauerOutage) April 3, 2021
Bauer and many other players felt Castellanos’ two-game suspension was unwarranted, as he did not initiate contact. Molina, who shoved Castellanos from behind, only received a fine.
MLB has maintained that punishment will be harsh for players that instigate fights, as per their health and safety protocols this season amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The league implemented a similar policy last year, which resulted in Joe Kelly receiving an eight-game suspension for his role in a benches-clearing incident against the Houston Astros.
However, the right-hander’s ban was eventually reduced to five games after an appeal.
Castellanos appealing two-game suspension
Like Kelly from last season, Castellanos is appealing his two-game suspension. He remains eligible to play until a decision is made.
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