MLB suspends 8 players after Red Sox, Rays brawl
Boston outfielder Coco Crisp, Tampa Bay pitcher James Shields and six other players were suspended Friday following a pair of altercations at Fenway Park.
Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson suspended three Red Sox: Crisp for seven games, pitcher Jon Lester for five games and first baseman Sean Casey for three games.
There were five Rays suspended: Shields for six games, designated hitter-outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitcher Edwin Jackson for five games, outfielder Carl Crawford for four games and second baseman Akinori Iwamura for three games.
All eight players also were fined undisclosed amounts.
The Red Sox and Rays have often clashed in the past, and the bench-clearing brawl in Boston's 7-1 win Thursday night was their latest outburst.
Crisp, who made a hard slide into Iwamura on Wednesday night, was hit by a pitch from Shields the first time he batted Thursday night and charged the mound. Crisp and Shields threw punches, and mayhem followed.
The starting dates of the suspensions were staggered, so as to not leave either team short-handed.
Crisp was scheduled to start his penalty Friday night, but appealed and can continue playing until the process is complete.
Lester, suspended for throwing a pitch at a Tampa Bay hitter after a warning had been issued, will not appeal and immediately began sitting out.
Unless appealed, the penalties for Shields and Gomes were scheduled to start Friday night.
Crawford was set to start serving his suspension Wednesday, Jackson on June 13, Casey on June 14 and Iwamura on June 17.
The Red Sox were at home against Seattle on Friday night and Tampa Bay played in Texas.
Tempers flared Wednesday
With first place in the AL East on the line, tempers flared between the Rays and Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Crisp, believing he'd been blocked off the bag by shortstop Jason Bartlett earlier in the game, slid hard into Iwamura after getting caught stealing. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon later said Crisp "intentionally" tried hurt somebody.
On Thursday, Crisp was hit in the right hip by Shields in the second inning. Crisp rushed the mound, ducked a wild right by Shields and a fight ensued.
Rays catcher Dioner Navarro tackled Crisp and Gomes charged from the dugout. Gomes threw several punches that hit Crisp.
Crisp, who had a scratch on his forehead and right cheek, said Crawford tried to pull his hair during the pileup. Crawford didn't deny he might've done it.
Crisp, Shields and Gomes were ejected.