Brandon Morrow scratched from Sunday start due to neck and back stiffness

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Brandon Morrow has already been pushed back once this week due to neck and back stiffness, but now the Blue Jays have scratched him Sunday’s scheduled start against the Red Sox. Chad Jenkins, who was called up from Triple-A Buffalo to take Rajai Davis’ spot on the roster, will make the start in his place.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, the decision was made after Morrow played catch this morning with pitching coach Pete Walker. He underwent an MRI yesterday which revealed no structural damage, so the hope is that he’ll be ready to go Wednesday against the Giants.

“At this point it looks like I’m probably going to go Wednesday,” he said. “I came in this morning with the intention of pitching tomorrow but throwing, everything felt OK, I could go out there and pitch, but I don’t think it would be real effective. …

“It’s a big difference from just feeling good walking around, to throwing a baseball.”

Morrow is off to a disappointing start this season, posting a 4.69 ERA and 34/17 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings over seven starts. Toronto’s starters are 29th in the majors this season with a 5.66 ERA. Only the Astros (5.99 ERA) have been worse.

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.