Milton Bradley gets benched, gets angry

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Milton Bradley strikes out.jpgMilton Bradley returned to the cleanup spot last night after a few weeks either hurt or batting elsewhere. He went 0 for 3, and struck out looking twice.  After the second one, Don Wakamatsu lifted him from the game.

Whether Bradley’s benching was to save him from himself — Bradley, you may be shocked to learn, was not happy with the umpire — or to save the Mariners from his ineptitude is unclear.  What is clear, however, is that he was angry about it.  Indeed, according to Gregg Bell of the Associated press “multiple Mariners” said Bradley’s mindset was “not
good” after the game. The Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker reports that Bradley’s frustration was about the benching, not about his bad night at the plate.  He apparently threw stuff all over the dugout after he was taken out of the game.

Neither Baker nor Bell suggest that there was anything exchanged between Wakamatsu and Bradley, but both note that he wasn’t in the clubhouse after the game.  Perhaps, like Eric Byrnes before him, he got on his bike and rode.

If this keeps up he may have something else in common with Eric Byrnes: unemployment.

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. 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.