SAN FRANCISCO — Giants reliever Hunter Strickland received a six-game suspension Tuesday and Washington’s Bryce Harper was penalized four games for their roles in a benches-clearing brawl at AT&T Park a day earlier.
Each also was fined an undisclosed amount, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday. MLB said both players planned to appeal, so the suspensions weren’t to begin with Tuesday night’s game between the clubs. Baseball Senior Vice President Joe Garagiola Jr. typically hears player appeals.
Strickland hit Harper in the hip with a pitch in the eighth inning and the Washington slugger charged the mound, wildly firing his helmet and trading punches to the head with Strickland during the Nationals’ 3-0 win Monday over San Francisco.
MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre’s explanation of the disciplinary decisions said that Strickland had intentionally hit “Harper with a pitch, inciting the bench-clearing incident and fighting” while Harper’s suspension came “for charging the mound, throwing his helmet and fighting.”
The two players’ bad blood stems from a pair of home runs Harper hit off Strickland in the 2014 playoffs, when the Giants went on to capture their third World Series championship in five years.
Washington led 2-0 with two outs in the eighth inning and none on when Strickland drilled Harper on the first pitch — a 98 mph fastball. Harper immediately pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.
Harper flung his helmet and they began throwing punches, with the 6-foot-4 Strickland clocking Harper in the face. They then broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpens emptied.