Quentin deserved longer suspension

In an era of increased awareness of player safety in sports — most notably concussions in the NFL — baseball now faces its own moment of truth.

Thursday night in San Diego, Carlos Quentin used a Major League Baseball game as an occasion to assault Zack Greinke.

Quentin saw malice where there wasn’t, in a 3-2 fastball that hit him in the sixth inning of a one-run game. So he charged the mound and, in the process, broke Greinke’s collarbone.

Greinke, who will have surgery on Saturday, will miss eight weeks, the Dodgers announced on Friday. Later in the evening, Major League Baseball suspended Quentin eight games, but he deserves more — at least a month if not longer.

Pending an appeal by the players association, Quentin can continue to play, which sets up a dicey situation in Los Angeles on Monday. That’s when the Padres open a three-game series vs. the Dodgers — and of all days, the first game is on Jackie Robinson Day.

I’m not sure that Quentin needs to be out as long as Greinke, as Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has advocated. But MLB needed to send a clear message with its disciplinary action against Quentin.

I’m not in favor of monthlong suspensions for every pitcher who hits a batter, or every hitter who charges the mound. At times, such actions fit within baseball’s unwritten rules — enforced by players, managers and umpires.

For those who say that is subjective, well, it is: Discipline is and should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Here, Quentin injured an opponent when it was obvious to everyone else that Greinke’s pitch wasn’t on purpose. Even more incriminating was the premeditated component to Quentin’s actions.

After the benches cleared, Oney Guillen — son of Quentin’s former manager in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen — tweeted: “greinke has hit carlos many many times. look it up. told me long long time ago. if he does it again im going for him. that was like 09”

It is true that Greinke hit Quentin with two pitches prior to Thursday. But MLB can’t allow that sort of vigilante justice to occur on its playing fields — whether or not the victim has a $147 million contract, as Greinke does.

Quentin is a frequent victim of hit-by-pitches, having led the majors in the category during each of the past two seasons. That’s partially explained by the fact that he stands very close to the plate.

But when Quentin charged the mound Thursday, it wasn’t for a baseball reason. It was personal.

MLB executives Joe Torre and Joe Garagiola Jr. should have suspended Quentin at least a month to think about the wrong in what he did.