Rodney to appeal suspension
A Tigers spokesperson said Tuesday that Fernando Rodney plans to appeal his three-game suspension handed down from Major League Baseball for his throw into the press box at Tropicana Field Friday night. The suspension otherwise would’ve started tonight against the Royals.
The heave came after Rodney gave up two runs in the ninth inning but still held on to save a 4-3 Tigers win over the Rays. After giving up an RBI single and double, Rodney stranded the potential tying run at third base and go-ahead run at second with a groundout. Rodney got the ball from first baseman Miguel Cabrera and flung it towards the seats behind the plate. The ball hit off the front row of the press seats and bounced into the back of the press box.
Nobody was hit, but it obviously raised safety concerns at the Commissioner’s office, as well as in the press box. Rodney insisted there was no malice intended.
“I was throwing the ball to the fans,” Rodney said afterwards. “[I was] emotional. It’s nothing bad. I know I’m not supposed to throw the ball, but I’m feeling in the moment. … I don’t throw it to hit nobody. I think if I throw it in the right spot, I don’t hit nobody.”
UPDATE @ 2pm: There is some precedence for this suspension. A Major League Baseball spokesperson cited former Astros reliever and current Diamondbacks reliever Chad Qualls, who threw a ball into the third deck of seats at Angel Stadium after blowing a five-run lead in the seventh inning against the Angels on June 18, 2007. He, too, was suspended three games along with a $3,000 fine. Qualls’ appeal was denied about a month later.
Carlos Zambrano also had a ball-tossing incident this year, but his throw went from home plate into the outfield. That, plus other actions during a memorable tirade, drew a six-game suspension from MLB, but as we know from Rick Porcello’s ordeal last month, the lengths on suspensions for starting pitchers are a little different.