Minnesota Twins reliever Tyler Duffey has been suspended three games for throwing a pitch behind Chicago White Sox rookie sluggerYermin Mercedes.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli also has been suspended one game. Both Duffey and Baldelli have been fined an undisclosed amount.
Major League Baseball announced the suspension Thursday, two days after Duffey threw the pitch in apparent retaliation for Mercedes’ controversial home run off a 3-0 pitch in a blowout victory.
Duffey has elected to appeal the suspension, but Baldelli will serve his one-game ban for the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.
Mercedes sparked controversy and debate around the majors when he crushed a homer off a 3-0 pitch from Minnesota infielder Willians Astudillo while Chicago had a 15-4 lead in the ninth inning Monday.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa criticized his own player for the swing, calling it a «big mistake» and saying Mercedes was «just clueless» for not being aware of baseball’s unwritten rules. Baldelli also expressed his disappointment before Tuesday’s game — and Duffey took matters into his own hands in the seventh inning when he threw a pitch behind Mercedes.
Minnesota rallied for a 5-4 victory Tuesday, and La Russa said after the game that he «didn’t have a problem with how the Twins handled that.»
Mercedes, a 28-year-old rookie, entered Thursday with a MLB-leading .358 average and also has six homers and 25 RBIs this season.
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