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MLB decreases Joe Kelly suspension to 5 games

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Kelly will begin his suspension once he’s activated from the injured list

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball on Wednesday reduced Joe Kelly’s suspension from eight to five games for his actions against the Astros on July 28, the Dodgers confirmed.

Kelly was placed on the 10-day injured list on Monday with right shoulder inflammation, so he will have to wait to serve his suspension until he is activated, which can’t happen until Aug. 19 at the earliest. His earliest game back would be Aug. 25 against the Giants.

On July 29, Kelly was suspended eight games for, in the words of MLB, throwing near Alex Bregman’s head and then taunting Carlos Correa, which led to Dodgers and Astros benches clearing. Kelly appealed his suspension, while manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension on July 29.

Chris Young, former major league pitcher and now MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, cited Kelly’s previous suspension for intentional throwing in levying the suspension. Kelly was suspended six games in April 2018 while with the Red Sox for hitting Yankees infielder Tyler Austin in the back with a pitch, and for throwing punches in the ensuing brawl.

In the benches-clearing incident with the Astros, no punches were thrown and nobody was ejected from the game for anything that happened. Tensions were heightened because this was the Dodgers’ first game against the Astros since details of their sign-stealing scheme were revealed, which included impropriety by Houston during the 2017 postseason when they defeated the Dodgers in the World Series in seven games.

Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers were not fans of the length of Kelly’s suspension when it was announced.

“It seemed very, very harsh, and I don’t think anyone’s too happy about it,” outfielder A.J. Pollock said on July 30. “We’re hoping that gets significantly reduced, because I think eight games in a 60-game season is pretty outrageous.”

“Extrapolating over the course of 162, I think 22 games for a relief pitcher, for me, is too aggressive,” Roberts said at the time.