Kelly is appealing his suspension, and is available to pitch Wednesday. Roberts will serve his suspension tonight, with bench coach Bob Geren managing the team.
“I got a call this morning from the league, and they’re trying to be swift about this,” Roberts said on a Zoom call earlier Wednesday.
Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of operations, cited Kelly’s history in delivering the punishment. Kelly served a six-game suspension while with the Red Sox in 2018 for hitting a batter.
“Kelly, who has previously been suspended in his career for intentional throwing, threw a pitch in the area of the head of Alex Bregman and later taunted Carlos Correa, which led to the benches clearing.”
Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount for his actions.
Roberts, per MLB, was suspended for Kelly’s actions, but he also said before Wednesday’s game that on a call regarding the incident, MLB officials “weren’t pleased” with the lack of social distancing as benches cleared.
“Baseball right now, we’re under a microscope, which we should be. Us as coaches, myself included, I have to do a better job of making sure guys stay on the bench,” Roberts said. “Last night, when tempers flared, I tried to get out there to kind of keep it at bay and minimize it, but I’ve also got to make sure guys stay on the bench, to follow the social distancing protocols.”
As for Kelly, he’s now the first major league player to receive any punishment related to the 2017 Astros cheating scandal, and he was hit hard, too. Eight games over a 60-game season equates to 21-22 games in a normal year.
Again, this goes back to what Alex Wood said in spring training: “Somebody will take it into their own hands, and they’ll get suspended more games than any of those guys got for the biggest cheating scandal in 100 years.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with all 30 MLB managers during spring training about potential retaliation against the Astros this season.
“I hope that I made it extremely clear to them that retaliation in-game by throwing at a batter intentionally will not be tolerated, whether it’s Houston or anybody else,” Manfred said in a press conference in February. “It’s dangerous and it is not helpful to the current situation.”