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Astros’ Bryan Abreu Faces Two Game Suspension For Plunking Adolis Garcia

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Astros relief pitcher Bryan Abreu has been given a two-game suspension following his controversial hit by pitch of Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia, which caused a benches-clearing incident and a near brawl in the late stages of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night.

As stated in a news release, Major League Baseball “took into account the dangerous nature of the pitch and its potential impact on player safety” in addition to noting that “all six of the major league umpires deemed Abreu’s pitch to have been intentional” in ejecting him from the game.

In the aftermath of Houston’s thrilling victory in Game 5, a number of Astros players, including Abreu himself, refuted the claim that Abreu was suspended for “intentionally throwing at” Garcia. The announcement was made on Saturday by MLB Senior Vice President of On-Field Operations Michael Hill.

“My plan for him was just to try to get the ball up and in,” Abreu said after the game. “That’s my plan with him — up and in, and slider down and away. I just missed the pitch and he just overreacted.”

The Astros, who have swept all three games in Arlington, Texas, lead the Rangers 3-2, but Abreu, the team’s main setup man, would be out of the lineup for Game 6 of the ALCS, Game 7 of that series, or Game 1 of the World Series. Discipline would be suspended pending the outcome of Abreu’s appeal.

Hearings pertaining to postseason suspensions are required by the collective bargaining agreement to take place 48 hours after a player decides to file an appeal. In this instance, Abreu might hold off on declaring his intention to appeal until before Game 6, at which point he might be ready for Game 6 and possibly even Game 7 while the procedure is underway. In that case, though, if the Astros progress and his ban is upheld, he might not be ready for the World Series to begin.

Along with Garcia, Abreu, Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., Rangers pitcher Matt Bush, and manager Dusty Baker also received undisclosed fines. Baker and Garcia were both removed from Friday’s game, although they did not receive a suspension.

MLB announced that McCullers and Bush will not be allowed to sit on their respective benches for the rest of the ALCS.

Two innings after Garcia blasted a stunning three-run home run and celebrated wildly, strolling halfway up the first-base line and slamming his bat against the Globe Life Field turf before beginning his jog, Abreu was hit by pitch in the bottom of the eighth. With a man on first, no outs, and the Rangers still leading by two runs, Garcia was hit by a first-pitch, 99 mph fastball that struck his left arm.

After players from both teams had piled onto the field, Garcia turned to Astros catcher Martin Maldonado right away and then looked for him again.

A similar situation happened in the aftermath of Garcia’s grand slam at Minute Maid Park in Houston in late July. After being hit by a pitch earlier in the game, Marcus Semien of the Rangers glared at Maldonado as soon as he got to home plate. Garcia then got involved. At that time, too, benches and dugouts were empty, but there were no punches.

Though Baker, who witnessed Jose Altuve’s game-winning home run from the corridor leading to the dugout, indicated there would “probably” be a carryover for the remainder of this series, no punches were thrown on Friday either.

In what way?

“Man, I don’t know,” Baker said prior to Saturday’s workout from Houston. “I don’t have a crystal ball. I mean, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. You have to wait and see, just like me. We don’t script it; it just happens.”

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