Kansas City Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount for throwing behind Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie in last Sunday's game, Major League Baseball announced. Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura was fined an undisclosed amount, but not suspended, for hitting Brett Lawrie intentionally during Saturday's game, presumably in response to Brett Lawrie's late, awkward slide that caused an injury to Alcides Escobar during Friday's game.
From MLB's release: pic.twitter.com/M9vnKafIac— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) April 21, 2015
Despite a few calls to review Brett Lawrie's slide on Friday night or Scott Kazmir hitting Lorenzo Cain on Saturday, no player or coach from the Athletics received any punishment for their roles in the incident.
Herrera will appeal the suspension, according to MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan, and he will remain eligible until an arbitrator rules. The five-game suspension for Herrera is quite severe in terms of precedents for a relief pitcher, and the severity could be a basis for Herrera to appeal to an arbitrator to reduce the term of his suspension.
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi points us toward the three-game suspension Latroy Hawkins received for throwing at Luke Scott in 2008 as an example of a reliever getting a suspension for throwing a purpose pitch around the "head area", as MLB put it in today's announcement:
Morosi argues that MLB's increased concern with player safety is the basis for the increased fine, as is Joe Torre's willingness to allow some room for player's to police themselves.
Aggravating Herrera's punishment may have been whatever the umpires reported Herrera said in the direction of Brett Lawrie as he pointed to himself and then pointed at his head. The umpire's report of the incident is not likely to be disclosed.