Jonathan Papelbon’s three-game suspension for bumping umpire Tony Randazzo earned earlier this month seemed excessive, and someone in the league office agreed, as the penalty was reduced to two games on appeal.
He’ll begin serving it today.
Papelbon was suspended June 7 for an incident that took place two days earlier against the A’s. Randazzo stepped out from behind home plate and took steps toward the mound after getting the impression that Papelbon was yelling at him from the mound. That led to more chatter, an ejection and then the two going chest-to-chest.
Papelbon, who picked up his 13th save last night against the Rays, will be out of action both Friday and Saturday before being eligible to return to the mound for Sunday’s finale against the Brewers. Daniel Bard is likely to close in his place.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.