Joe Kelly suspended eight
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Joe Kelly suspended eight games by Major League Baseball

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Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly has been suspended eight games for his actions Tuesday night against the Astros. Kelly is appealing his suspension, so he will be allowed to pitch until the matter is resolved. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been suspended one game, and Astros manager Dusty Baker received an undisclosed fine as well.

In the sixth inning last night in Houston, Kelly threw a pitch near the head of third baseman Alex Bregman. He did the same to shortstop Carlos Correa, then taunted Correa after striking him out to end the inning. Both teams’ benches emptied, but no punches were thrown and there were no ejections.

Eight games is a significant suspension for a reliever. It amounts to 13% of the season. A 162-game equivalent suspension would be 22 games.

Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a memorandum during the offseason, advising teams to not retaliate against the Astros following the league’s report that the Astros cheated by stealing signs during their championship 2017 season. When the league resumed operations following a three and a half month pause due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the temporary rules for the 2020 season made it illegal for players to instigate altercations. Kelly’s suspension shows the league is at least taking the pandemic seriously and could also be viewed as finally taking beanball wars seriously.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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