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 Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.