D-backs’ Kennedy has strong case for appeal

SAN DIEGO — From a historical perspective, Ian Kennedy got manslaughter for jaywalking.

Not only is Kennedy’s 10-game suspension for what Major League Baseball considered intentionally throwing at a batter the longest of its kind, it also flies in the face of recent precedent.

You could look it up. Kennedy’s agent, Scott Boras, already has.

Boras has ample evidence to support Kennedy’s appeal, which is sure to come and could be heard in the next three weeks, as the D-backs visit Washington, D.C., and New York on a road trip from June 25-July 4.

“We’ve done our research,” Boras said Saturday.

Certain to be among the cases cited:

— Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco was suspended eight games, recently reduced after appeal to seven, when he was cited for intentionally throwing at the Yankees’ Kevin Youkilis on April 12. It was Carrasco’s second offense; he had recently rejoined Cleveland after serving a five-game suspension for a 2011 incident in which he was said to have intentionally thrown at Royals slugger Billy Butler. Both pitches came after Carraso gave up home runs. Both times, he said they were unintentional.

— Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels was suspended five games for intentionally hitting Nationals rookie Bryce Harper on May 6, 2012, in 19-year-old Harper’s eighth game in the majors. Hamels copped to it afterward, saying, “It’s just, ‘Welcome to the big leagues.'”

Hamels continued, “That’s something I grew up watching. So I’m just trying to continue the old baseball, because I think some people are kind of getting away from it. I remember, when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small, and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is. But I think, unfortunately, the league’s protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”

Kennedy, who will start against the Padres on Sunday while appealing, believes he has a strong case for a reduction that would cause him to miss only one start, as Hamels did in 2012.

“I hope so. Just looking at those cases,” Kennedy said.

The severity still puzzles Kennedy, who hit Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig in the nose in the last of the sixth inning Tuesday and was ejected after hitting right-hander Zack Greinke in the seventh. Greinke hit the D-backs’ Miguel Montero in the top of the seventh in apparent retaliation for Puig getting hit.

“I don’t know if there was emotion behind it,” Kennedy said. “I’ve never been known to do it before. I’ve never been suspended before. It just doesn’t line up to what is in the past, what has been present before.”

Kennedy’s suspension is the longest since Kansas City’s Runelvys Hernandez served a 10-game suspension after hitting three Tigers batters, including one in the head, to start a brawl on July 17, 2005.

“It’s pretty hard to say somebody is trying to hit you in the head. Come on,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “Does anybody really believe Ian Kennedy was trying to hit somebody in the head?”

The D-backs were hit the hardest when punishment was announced Friday. In addition to Kennedy’s 10-games, Eric Hinske was given five games, although several Dodgers players said Friday that Hinske acted as a peacemaker. Los Angeles also had J.P. Howell and Skip Schumaker suspended for two games and Ronald Belisario suspended for one. Puig and Belisario were caught on film throwing punches.

The D-backs cannot replace players while they are suspended, so they now face the possibility of playing 15 games with only 24 active players. Kennedy and Hinske are unlikely to have to serve their suspensions at the same time.

“When the whole suspension thing comes down for good (after appeals), we may have to readjust our team,” Gibson said.

“I think we are probably going to be able to stagger them. We’re going to be one short for a long time, regardless. So what do you need? Do you need another starter? Do you need another bullpen arm? Do you play a pitcher short? Do you play a position player short? There are a lot of different things we may have to get into. It’s a big disadvantage.”

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