UPDATE: Brian Roberts receives epidural in troublesome back

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Brian Roberts headshot.jpgUPDATE: Don’t count on seeing Roberts return after the minimum. Roberts will have to rest for 4-5 days after undergoing another epidural
injection in his back on Monday, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Team doctors believe Roberts re-aggravated his back on the very same slide where he suffered an abdominal strain last Friday.

11:54 AM: The Orioles have finally decided to place Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list, reports MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.

The Baltimore second baseman suffered an abdominal strain during Friday’s game against the Blue Jays and did not see any playing time this weekend.  He is 2-for-14 through four games this season with a double and a run scored.  The move was made retroactive to April 10, so he will be eligible to return before the end of the month and is expected to do just that.

The Orioles called up infielder Justin Turner almost immediately after Roberts was injured and he’s expected to get a few starts at second base over the next two weeks.  Julio Lugo, also 2-for-14 in four games this season, will benefit the most.

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. Mattingly came out to argue with the umpires about the fairness of issuing warnings right then and there. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly apparently said, “You’re next” to Posey, who was standing around home plate. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.