Ian Kennedy was suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball on Friday morning for his role in last Tuesday night’s benches-clearing brawl between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in Los Angeles. It was the longest suspension handed out to any player or coach involved in the fight and the lengthiest non-PED related penalty given to any pitcher since 2005.
The right-hander is appealing, and he feels like he has a decent case. Here’s what he told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic before the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Padres on Saturday night in San Diego:
“The guys in the past, with their first offense, have gotten around a five-game suspension, five or six,” Kennedy said. “I don’t understand why mine would be any different, why mine would be 10 when some people’s second offense was even less.”
“After doing research and talking to (agent) Scott (Boras) and finding out the numbers, it doesn’t really line up. I’m going to throw inside and hit people. But 10 games just doesn’t make sense.”
Kennedy did seem to aim a pitch directly at the head of Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig and another at the head of $147 million man Zack Greinke, though that type of stuff has happened many times before in baseball’s recent and not-so-recent past without prompting 10-game sentences.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.