MLB just announced that Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has been suspended seven games and fined an undisclosed amount for his actions during yesterday’s game against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. He will not appeal, so he will begin serving the suspension immediately.
After blowing his fourth save of the season, Papelbon made a lewd gesture — specifically, a crotch-grab — to fans as he was being booed on his walk back to the dugout. This led to him being ejected by second base umpire Joe West. MLB dropped the hammer pretty hard here given what we have seen with starting pitchers who have intentionally thrown at hitters in the past, so I’m guessing a majority of the punishment is because of the confrontation he ended up having with West and Marty Foster. For what it’s worth, Papelbon has maintained that he was simply adjusting himself and not making a gesture at the fans.
The Phillies have released the following statement:
“The Phillies fully support the decision of the Commissioner’s Office, which has exclusive jurisdiction for on-field player behavior. By Major League Baseball rules, the Phillies have no authority to make official judgments about activity which occurs on the field or to determine the appropriate penalty for misconduct. We apologize to our fans for the actions of our player yesterday.”