A rather severe penalty for an incident that was actually incited by the ump.
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended three games and fined for bumping home plate umpire Tony Randazzo after being ejected from Saturday’s game against the Athletics.
Papelbon is appealing the penalty and will be available to pitch tonight.
Papelbon has maintained that he was talking to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and not Randazzo during the exchange that led to Saturday’s incident. After Papelbon turned around, Randazzo stepped out from behind home plate and took a couple of steps towards the mound, shouting back to Papelbon.
As soon as Randazzo made that move, it was a given that Papelbon would be ejected. There was no other way it could have played out. Papelbon, of course, took the invitation and went chest-to-chest with Randazzo. He didn’t appear to intentionally bump Randazzo at any time, but there was definitely some contact.
Given the circumstances, Papelbon would seem to have a pretty good chance of getting the penalty reduced. Randazzo was just as much of a hot-head as he was, and there was no obvious intent to bump (or grind) on Papelbon’s part.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.