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Astros’ Bryan Abreu Facing 2-Game Suspension for Plunking Adolis Garcia

HOUSTON — Astros relief pitcher Bryan Abreu has been handed a two-game suspension in the wake of his controversial hit by pitch of Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia, which sparked a benches-clearing incident and a near brawl in the late stages of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night.

Major League Baseball noted in its news release that “all six of the major league umpires deemed Abreu’s pitch to have been intentional” in ejecting him from the game, adding that the league “took into account the dangerous nature of the pitch and its potential impact on player safety” in doling out the suspension.

The announcement — made by MLB senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill on Saturday — asserted that Abreu was suspended for “intentionally throwing at” Garcia, a notion several members of the Astros denied in the wake of Houston’s come-from-behind victory in Game 5, including Abreu himself.

“My plan for him was just to try to get the ball up and in,” Abreu said after the game. “That’s my plan with him — up and in, and slider down and away. I just missed the pitch and he just overreacted.”

Abreu, the Astros’ primary setup man, would be unavailable for Game 6 of the ALCS and either Game 7 of that series or Game 1 of the World Series; the Astros, after sweeping all three games in Arlington, Texas, hold a 3-2 advantage over the Rangers. If Abreu elects to appeal, discipline would be on hold while the process plays out.

The collective bargaining agreement states that hearings involving a suspension in the playoffs must be heard within 48 hours of a player deciding to appeal. In this case, Abreu could wait until before Game 6 to state that he wants to appeal, then theoretically be available in Game 6 and a potential Game 7 while the process plays out. In that instance, though, he could be unavailable for the start of the World Series if the Astros advance and his suspension is upheld.

Abreu was also fined an undisclosed amount, as were Garcia, Rangers pitcher Matt Bush, Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and manager Dusty Baker. Garcia and Baker were also ejected from Friday’s game but were not suspended. McCullers and Bush will be prohibited from sitting on their respective benches for the remainder of the ALCS, MLB announced.

Abreu’s hit by pitch occurred in the bottom of the eighth, two innings after Garcia hit a dramatic three-run homer and celebrated emphatically, walking halfway up the first-base line and slamming his bat onto the Globe Life Field turf before starting his jog. The hit by pitch occurred with a runner on first, none out and the Rangers still leading by two runs, on a first-pitch, 99 mph fastball that caught Garcia in the left arm. Garcia immediately turned to Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, then went looking for him again after players from both teams had spilled onto the field.

A similar incident occurred at Houston’s Minute Maid Park in late July, in the wake of a grand slam by Garcia. Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien, who had been hit by a pitch earlier in the game, jawed at Maldonado upon reaching home plate. Garcia then joined in. Dugouts and benches emptied then, too, but no punches were thrown.

No punches were thrown on Friday, either, but Baker, who watched Jose Altuve‘s game-winning home run from the hallway connected to the dugout, said there will “probably” be a carryover for what remains of this series.

How so?

“Man, I don’t know,” Baker said prior to Saturday’s workout from Houston. “I don’t have a crystal ball. I mean, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. You have to wait and see, just like me. We don’t script it; it just happens.”

Source : ESPN