As reported by ESPN, Major League Baseball handed down an eight-game suspension to Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor for his part in Sunday’s brawl with the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon. According to FOX-Sports, the MLB has also suspended Toronto manager John Gibbons three games for returning to the field for the brawl after receiving an ejection in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes.
Odor, who threw a vicious punch to the left cheek of Bautista after the Blue Jay right fielder slid hard into second base, sparking the melee, will reportedly appeal the suspension and be eligible to play in the Rangers’ Tuesday night contest in Oakland against the Athletics.
Rougned Odor with the HANDS on Joey Bats https://t.co/OiiyOo2xAe
— Mike Flanagan (@fLAno0) May 15, 2016
Naturally, the Internet had some fun with the Odor punch on Bautista throughout last several days.
Catch this L, Jose Bautista. pic.twitter.com/F9nXezweJA
— Crying Jordan (@cryingjordan_23) May 16, 2016
Before the brawl took place, Bautista was plunked in the elbow by Rangers pitcher Matt Bush. The MLB decided that because Bautista did not charge the mound at Bush following being beaned or make any initial physical contact with Odor following his hard slide, that he was not deserving of a suspension. Many will argue that Bautista violated a rule and intentionally broke up a double play by sliding hard into Odor at second. But, at the end of the day, those who are surprised by Joey Bats not getting suspended need to face the facts here. Bautista’s hard slide was not a suspendable offense because he did not cause an injury and he barely brushed Odor’s leg. Meanwhile, Odor made first contact with Bautista with a shove, followed by a brutal right haymaker. The MLB is definitely trying to eliminate things like take-out slides from the game of baseball, but the league realized that eliminating brutal right-handed punches that spark a bench-clearing brawl are probably the bigger priority here.
As for Gibbons, it’s hard to argue against his suspension. The MLB set a standard with Bryce Harper’s one-game ban for returning to the field and yelling at home plate umpire Brian Knight last week following an ejection from the game. Gibbons likely received two more games than Harper because he returned to the field AND took part in a physical altercation. Gibbons will be joining relief pitcher Jesse Chavez, who was also suspended three games for plunking the Rangers’ Prince Fielder and further escalating the situation in the bottom half of the eighth inning on Sunday.