TORONTO — Texas second baseman Rougned Odor was suspended for eight games and fined $5,000 by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for punching Toronto’s Jose Bautista on the jaw. MLB disciplined 14 players and staff for their roles during Sunday’s brawl at Arlington, Texas.
Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez was suspended three games for hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch. Manager John Gibbons, who returned to the field for the fight following his ejection five innings earlier, was penalized three games for inciting additional fighting.
Bautista, who made a hard takeout slide on Odor, was suspended for one game by MLB senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr. for his actions and postgame comments
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was suspended for one game for aggressive actions and Blue Jays first base coach Tim Leiper for one game for returning to the dugout following his ejection.
Odor, Bautista and Chavez appealed their discipline, which will be held in abeyance pending a resolution. Andrus was to serve his penalty Tuesday at Oakland.
The amount of Odor’s fine was disclosed by a person familiar with the discipline who spoke on condition of anonymity because the figure was not announced.
Texas pitchers Matt Bush (intentionally throwing at Bautista), Sam Dyson (aggressive actions) and A.J. Griffin (being on the field while on the disabled list) were fined along with catcher Robinson Chirinos (being on the field while on the DL) and bench coach Steve Buechele (aggressive actions).
Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson, the reigning AL MVP, was fined for aggressive actions along with outfielder Kevin Pillar. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who was acting manager following Gibbons’ ejection, was fined for Chavez’s intentional actions after teams had been warned by umpires.
Hale will manage the Blue Jays while Gibbons serves his suspension, beginning with Tuesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Assistant hitting coach Eric Owens coached first base Tuesday in Leiper’s place.
Gibbons, who was suspended one game last August for returning to the field during an altercation with Kansas City after being ejected earlier that game, said he was surprised by the length of his suspension this time around.
“I thought that was a little excessive,” Gibbons said. “But what are you going to do? I’ve got enough issues to worry about.”
Even though he knew he would be punished, Gibbons said he returned to the field to calm the situation and protect his players.
“That’s your team out there,” he said. “It makes sense to me that you should go out there and try to keep things under control, but that’s not the rules so you’ve got to live with that.”
Gibbons would not say whether he thought eight games was a fair penalty for Odor.
“I can’t worry about him,” Gibbons said. “I’ve got to worry about myself.”
Bautista refused to speak to reporters for a second straight day, while Donaldson offered mostly one-word answers when asked to comment on the rulings.
Tensions between the Blue Jays and Rangers stemmed from Oct. 14, when Bautista hit a tiebreaking three-run homer against Dyson in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the AL Division Series at Rogers Centre, admired the ball for a couple seconds until it glanced off the front of the second deck in left and then dramatically flipped his bat.
In the last regular-season game between the teams this year, Bush opened the eighth inning with a 96 mph fastball that hit Bautista on the left arm and ricocheted off a thigh.
Plate umpire Dan Iassogna warned both benches, and Justin Smoak bounced to third with one out. Bautista slid hard and late into the right leg of Odor and 8 feet past second base. Odor shoved Bautista with both hands, then threw a punch to his jaw that made Bautista’s head snap back, causing his sunglasses and helmet to fly off. Dugouts and bullpens emptied.
Smoak was called out for an inning-ending double play, and Chavez hit Fielder on the right thigh with the next pitch.
“I thought it was pretty cowardly of them too to wait until my last at-bat to do that in the whole series,” Bautista said after the game. “They could have come out and done it, if they wanted to send a message. Again, it shows a little bit more of their colors.”
Asked Tuesday whether he considered the tension between the Blue Jays and Rangers to be over, Donaldson said “sure.”