Jonathan Papelbon Suspended 3 Games: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball on Friday for throwing a pitch toward the head of Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado.

MLB Communications confirmed the punishment relating to the incident during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game. The Nationals announced Papelbon will appeal the suspension, which means he can continue to pitch until his case is heard.

Machado hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead, and they held on to win.

Afterward, he didn’t hold back when asked what he thought about getting hit after providing the game-changing moment, as tweeted by Rich Dubroff of CSN Mid-Atlantic: “I’m not worried about getting hit….That’s just bull***t. It’s coward stuff. It’s just cowardly.”

Nationals slugger Bryce Harper didn’t exactly rush to Papelbon’s defense, instead preparing himself for potential retaliation, per James Wagner of the Washington Post.

“I mean, Manny freaking hit a homer and walked it off and somebody drilled him,” Harper said. “It’s pretty tired. It’s one of those situations where it happens. I don’t know. I’ll probably get drilled tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.”

As it turned out, the Orioles never hit Harper or any other members of the Nats in Thursday’s game, which they won 5-4.

Washington has just 10 games remaining in the regular season and, barring a major comeback in the NL East (7.5 games back of the New York Mets), won’t make the playoffs. Depending on the timetable of the appeal resolution, which wasn’t announced, the punishment could carry into next season.

In the bigger picture, the idea of hitting an opponent is still ingrained into baseball culture in order to make a point. While that may never change, MLB must continue to enforce punishments to strongly discourage throwing anywhere close an opponent’s head.

 

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