Astros’ Bryan Abreu appeals two-game ban, pitches in Game 6

HOUSTON — Astros relief pitcher Bryan Abreu is appealing a two-game suspension after his controversial hit by pitch of Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia caused a benches-clearing incident and near brawl during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night.

In Game 6, Abreu, the Astros’ primary setup man, pitched one inning of relief, allowing one run on two hits in their 9-2 loss to the Rangers. Game 7 is scheduled for Monday.

Astros manager Dusty Baker expressed concern about the potential impact of Abreu’s suspension on the team’s performance. He had considered using Abreu for two innings in Game 6, but was unsure of his availability for Game 7 due to the ongoing appeal process.

According to the collective bargaining agreement, hearings for playoff suspensions must take place within 48 hours of a player’s appeal. Sources say the hearing for Abreu’s case is scheduled for Monday.

Baker expressed frustration with the absence of a definitive decision regarding Abreu’s status. He hopes that any subsequent suspension will be postponed, allowing Abreu to pitch in Game 7 as well.

Major League Baseball stated that all six umpires deemed Abreu’s hit by pitch intentional, leading to his ejection from the game. The league cited player safety concerns when issuing the suspension.

MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations, Michael Hill, announced on Saturday that Abreu was suspended for intentionally throwing at Garcia, a claim that several Astros members, including Abreu, have denied.

Abreu added that his pitching strategy was to throw high and inside, as well as a slider down and away. He claimed that he simply missed his target and Garcia overreacted.

In addition to the suspension, Abreu was fined an undisclosed amount. Garcia, Rangers pitcher Matt Bush, Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., and Baker were also fined. However, Garcia and Baker were not suspended. McCullers and Bush are prohibited from sitting on their respective benches for the remainder of the ALCS.

The incident occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning, two innings after Garcia’s dramatic three-run home run. Garcia was hit by Abreu’s first-pitch fastball, prompting a confrontation between the players.

A similar incident had occurred earlier in the season between the Astros and Rangers. No punches were thrown on either occasion, but Baker believes that tensions will carry over to the remainder of the series.

Despite the unpredictability, Baker remains focused on the upcoming games and asserts that the outcome will unfold naturally.


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