Wednesday, May 3
Martinez suspended for plunking Alomar
ESPN.com news services
BOSTON -- Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez was suspended for five games for his role in Sunday's bench-clearing incident with the Cleveland Indians, ESPN's Peter Gammons first reported Wednesday.
-- Rob NeyerWhether you think Pedro Martinez deserved a suspension or not, you have to agree that the rule that led to his suspension is seriously flawed. Martinez and Nagy did exactly the same thing. Each hit a batter in the mid-section, purposely.
Yet Martinez will miss a start because his bench had been "warned," while Nagy draws no punishment at all except a small fine. Essentially, in this situation the team that plays dirty first is rewarded. It's a little like awarding a prize fight to the boxer who bites an ear off first.
Martinez was suspended for hitting Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar with a pitch after being warned not to retaliate for an earlier beaning. The suspension was announced the same day tMartinez was named the AL's pitcher of the month for April.
Martinez immediately appealed the ruling from Frank Robinson, baseball's first-year vice president of on-field operations. Cutting down on altercations is one of Robinson's goals.
"I'm hopeful that the suspension will be reduced on appeal," Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette said. "Pedro takes a lot of pride in making his starts when asked. He also takes pride in being a leader on the ballclub."
Martinez didn't comment on the ruling Wednesday, but said earlier in the week that he did not expect to be punished for the incident. "There's no discipline to be issued. There's nothing. There's no fight," Martinez said Monday. "This is all part of the game."
Martinez, the 1999 Cy Young winner, will be able to pitch until his appeal is heard. He was also fined an undisclosed amount.
Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy was also fined, but not suspended, for hitting Boston's Jose Offerman before Martinez beaned Alomar.
"It was clear that Nagy was throwing at Offerman," Duquette said. "Otherwise, why would Nagy be fined?"
Alomar declined comment Wednesday, but other members of the Cleveland Indians were still steamed about the incident.
"He deserved it," shortstop Omar Vizquel said in Cleveland about Martinez's suspension. "He deserved to get something. If not a suspension, a fine or whatever. That was pretty chicken, what he did."
After the game Sunday, Alomar said Martinez had crossed the line by throwing at him. "He's the best pitcher in the game," Alomar said. "We know he's going to pitch inside. But the other stuff, he went too far."
Martinez pitched seven shutout innings in Sunday's game and then was ejected for drilling Alomar with his first pitch of the eighth.
An inning earlier, Martinez threw a pitch under the chin of catcher Einar Diaz, the No. 9 hitter who had a pair of doubles earlier in the game.
"Pedro was clearly pitching inside to Einar Diaz because he was hanging over the plate," Duquette said. "He was pitching inside to try to get him out."
But Nagy said, "There are ways of pitching inside. You don't have to throw at guys' heads. I think everybody expected something to happen. I'll just pay (the fine) and move on."
Indians reliever Scott Kamieniecki said he was more upset about the brushback pitch to Diaz than the one that hit Alomar.
"You don't throw at a guy's head. That's got no business in baseball," he said. "Any ballplayer will tell you that what he did was intentional. It was premeditated. You could tell." "Am I not allowed to pitch inside?" Martinez asked after the game. "I have pitched well against Cleveland and have never had this happen. I am sorry this happened, but it's part of the game."
In the top of the eighth, Nagy hit Offerman, emptying the benches for the first time. After Martinez was warned by the umpire not to throw at any batters, the Boston ace hit Alomar in the behind in the bottom of the eighth, drawing the players back onto the field.
Martinez was ejected, but no punches were thrown.
Robinson took over as baseball's vice president of on-field operations following the offseason restructuring of the commissioner's office. He acted swiftly in his first major decision, suspending a combined 16 members of the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers for their roles in a brawl-filled game on April 22. Nine others were fined.
One of the players not suspended was Jeff Weaver of Detroit, who set the stage for the brawl by drilling Carlos Lee with a pitch.
Detroit manager Phil Garner, who was suspended for eight games after last week's brawl against the Chicago White Sox, said he is concerned that the suspensions might make pitchers even more timid about pitching inside.
"We have a code: An eye for an eye," Garner said. "I don't believe in firing the first bullet, but there are situations where you do have to protect your players."
Martinez's appeal will be heard by Paul Beeston, baseball's president and chief operating officer. Beeston will rule on all appeals that previously were heard by the league presidents.
Martinez is 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA this season. Last season, the native of the Dominican Republic was 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA. His next scheduled start is Friday against Tampa Bay.