SAN DIEGO — The mood in the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse was one of disbelief bordering on anger after Ian Kennedy and Eric Hinske received the most serious suspensions from Tuesday’s massive brawl with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kennedy was suspended for 10 games and Hinske for five, while Dodgers players J.P. Howell and Skip Schumaker were suspended for two games apiece. Kennedy and Hinske plan to appeal, and they will be available until their appeals are heard, a process that usually takes several weeks.
“Ten games, I think they are trying to set an example,” Kennedy said.
Added catcher Miguel Montero: “It’s not right. I don’t know what camera they were looking at.”
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson and Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly were suspended for one game apiece for their teams’ actions, in which four players were hit by pitches and benches cleared after Kennedy hit Dodgers’ starter Zack Greinke in the left shoulder in the seventh inning of Los Angeles’ 5-3 victory.
Gibson served his suspension Friday, with bench coach Alan Trammell managing the team in San Diego against the Padres.
“We weren’t going out there to throw punches. We were trying to protect ourselves and get it over with,” Gibson said.
Kennedy hit Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig in the nose in the sixth inning before Greinke hit Montero in the top of the seventh inning in apparent retaliation. Both benches were warned, and tempers boiled over when Kennedy plunked Greinke in the seventh.
Benches cleared and punches were thrown as the teams collided near the Diamondbacks’ first-base dugout. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire, who aimed harsh words at Gibson as the scrum escalated and was restrained by D-backs third base coach Matt Williams, was suspended for two games. Dodgers right-hander Ronald Belasario was suspended for one.
Montero, Greinke, Puig and Gerardo Parra were fined. Puig was caught on film throwing punches, at least one of which struck Hinske in the back. Greinke, who missed five weeks with a fractured collarbone earlier this season when the Padres’ Carlos Quention charged the mound after being hit by a pitch in early April, was not suspended.
Montero said he did not expect to be hit but also did not want to start anything afterward.
“The last thing I wanted to do was get suspended. I know he’s a little chicken(expletive). I didn’t want to fight,” Montero said of Greinke.
Kennedy is to make his next scheduled start Sunday while the appeal process plays out. He said he did not intentionally hit Puig but was trying to get him out as he did in the fourth inning, when he struck out Puig with high-and-inside fastballs. Kennedy uses the inside of the plate as much as any pitcher in the league, and he leads the NL with eight hit batsmen this season.
“Everybody knows that in order to have success in the big leagues, or anywhere, you have to pitch in-out. I throw inside. You are not going to go in there and try to hit anybody. Sometimes it happens. We’re not perfect as pitchers,” he said.
“There are a lot of things being attacked about my character, saying I’m a headhunter. I really don’t appreciate that. Those are people’s opinions. People in my clubhouse, my family, my friends, have shown a lot of support for me. That’s what matters, because there have been a lot of people attacking me.”
The wording of Major League Baseball’s announcement said that Kennedy was suspended for “intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area” of Greinke.
“I don’t want to say much,” Kennedy said when asked about that. “Let the appeal go through,” he said.
Even some Dodgers players were surprised that Hinske was given such a severe suspension, with one saying Hinske acted as a “peacemaker.” Hinske said he was struck in the back by a Puig punch.
“I wasn’t trying to throw any punches at anybody. I was trying to get it under control. There are 50 guys out there. Your head has to be on a swivel. It happens quick. You’re confused. Some pushing happens, but I never threw a punch. I don’t know what five games is for, but I’m appealing the process. I hope it all comes out in the end,” Hinske said.
“I’ve been a model citizen in this league for 12 years. Then there is Puig, who has 12 games in the big leagues and gets no games. You tell me what’s right.”
Of Hinske’s suspension, Montero said: “The guy was getting punched and he was trying to break the fight down and he gets five games. Really? Come on. The guy Puig, throwing punches all over the place. Every single camera saw him throwing punches. Just a fine? That’s the thing that I don’t understand. I don’t know if they are just trying to cover their eyes when they are looking at that video. I’m very disappointed.”
Montero, wearing his catching gear, pulled Howell off D-backs assistant hitting coach Turner Ward as the Dodgers reliever drove Ward into the railing of a camera well adjacent to the Arizona dugout.
“If I don’t get involved, if I don’t try to separate it, he would get hammered,” Montero said.
“Then you see video with (the Dodgers’ Clayton) Kershaw coming at me throwing punches and nobody mentioned it. Golden boys, I guess. I don’t know what to say. Just really mad and disappointed. I hope they see that again, and hopefully they get a better angle or a better camera. Or they (use) slow motion and go through it one more time and realize the mistakes they made.”