PHOENIX — Ian Kennedy took one for the team Monday.
Make that 10.
Kennedy opted to drop the appeal of his 10-game suspension handed down after the Diamondbacks’ brawl with the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and the case can be made that his absence at this point of the season serves the best interests of the team.
With two off days in the next six, the D-backs can withstand the loss of Kennedy with only limited disruption, even with starter Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list. Their other starters can stay on regular rest, and Kennedy will miss only one start, with his second pushed back a day to June 29, the first day he is eligible to return.
“‘Gibby’ (manager Kirk Gibson) and I spoke, and we felt like this is the right thing for the team. It is the best thing for the team to put it past us, and I was ready to move on,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy seemed to have plenty of evidence to support shortening the suspension, but his decision keeps the D-backs out of a possibly more troublesome spot later in the season. The D-backs play 19 straight games from June 25 to the All-Star break, and if his suspension were upheld, they would be in a greater bind with no off days.
“It works out perfect with the off days and the way it is set up,” reliever Josh Collmenter said, “because there are a couple of stretches later in the year when we play a bunch of games in a row, and he’d be out two starts for sure.
“It is ideal.”
Infielder Eric Hinske said Monday he has filed an appeal on his five-game suspension.
Kennedy and Hinske received the most severe penalties for a benches-clearing brawl in Los Angeles on Tuesday, when Kennedy hit Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig in the sixth inning and opposing starter Zack Greinke in the seventh.
He was automatically ejected for hitting Greinke because both benches had been warned after Greinke hit D-backs catcher Miguel Montero in the back during the top of the seventh inning.
Kennedy, who started Sunday in San Diego, said the possibility of a reduced sentence was not worth the risk of the suspension being upheld on the league’s timetable.
“That weighed in, but looking at things, doing it this way was better for the team instead of waiting awhile. I didn’t know when the hearing was. I didn’t have a date,” Kennedy said.
Dodgers players Skip Schumaker and J.P. Howell were suspended for two games, and reliever Ronald Belisario was suspended for one, as were Arizona manager Kirk Gibson and Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire was suspended for two games.
The Dodgers seemed to support a reduction of Hinske’s sentence, with one player calling him a “peacemaker” amid the chaos.
The D-backs cannot replace Kennedy on the roster and will have just 24 players until June 29.