Chris Archer
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Chris Archer won’t appeal suspension

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Pirates right-hander Chris Archer will not appeal the five-game suspension that was issued by Major League Baseball last week, the pitcher told reporters Sunday. It’s less an admission of guilt and more a logistical decision, however, as the Pirates’ two off days will push his next scheduled start to the weekend, effectively nullifying the club’s need for a spot starter in his league-mandated absence.

The right-hander played a pivotal role in the Pirates-Reds fracas last weekend after he intentionally threw at Reds infielder Derek Dietrich for hitting — and admiring — a two-run, splash-hit homer in the second inning. The dispute led to a benches-clearing brawl, at which point Reds manager David Bell, outfielder Yasiel Puig, left-hander Amir Garrett, and Pirates relievers Keone Kela and Felipe Vázquez were ejected for their respective involvement in the fray.

On Tuesday, suspensions and fines were handed down to Archer (five games), Bell (one game), and Puig (two games). Both Bell and Puig served their suspensions immediately, while Archer was reportedly set to appeal his suspension before it became clear that he would not experience any interruption in his regular pitching schedule.

That’s an awfully light sentence for something as serious as throwing a 93.3-m.p.h. fastball at another player. As both Bill and Craig pointed out, it makes no sense for the league to hold starting pitchers to the same kind of suspension system that applies to regular position players, given that starters only pitch every five days and do not suffer the effects of a multi-day suspension in the same way that a position player might. Worse, not punishing Archer for his very punishable offense suggests that MLB is still willing to look the other way when it comes to the ‘unwritten rules’ of baseball — rules that continue to put players’ health and lives in jeopardy.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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