Major League Baseball suspended Houston Astros reliever Bryan Abreu for two games for “intentionally throwing” at Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis García during Friday’s Game 5 win over Texas, the league announced Saturday. Here’s what you need to know:
- The suspension is effective immediately, but Abreu can appeal it.
- Abreu hit García with a pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning with the Rangers leading 4-2, igniting a benches-clearing scuffle.
- Following discussion among the umpires, Abreu, García and Houston manager Dusty Baker were ejected.
- The Astros lead the Rangers 3-2 in the American League Championship Series and face each other next on Sunday in Game 6.
What else to know
Every Astro asked about the incident after Friday’s game — including Abreu himself — claimed the pitch toward García was not intentional. The six umpires working the game disagreed. MLB cited the umpires’ determination in the news release announcing Abreu’s suspension along with “the dangerous nature of the pitch and its potential impact on player safety.”
Abreu hit García in the shoulder with a 98.3 mph first-pitch fastball. Both Abreu and Baker said the team intended to pitch García up and in, but catcher Martín Maldonado claimed the pitch that hit García was supposed to be thrown away. Maldonado set up away, too. It should be noted that Abreu faced 287 batters during the regular season and hit just three of them. — Chandler Rome, Astros staff writer
Was this surprising?
Though it arrives at an awful time for the Astros, MLB’s decision is not surprising. The optics of the situation were too drastic for the league to ignore and, as Justin Verlander articulated after Friday’s game, “I understand Major League Baseball and is trying to take away the hit by pitch, and pitchers and teams policing the game the way it used to be done. I understand that. It’s dangerous.”
A first-pitch fastball at nearly 99 mph above the waist is something the league could not ignore, especially after six of its umpires determined the pitch was intentional. — Rome
(Photo: Carmen Mandato / Getty Images)