Brawl leads to suspensions

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and Toronto pitcher Jesse Carlson each were suspended for three games and fined Wednesday by Major League Baseball for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl.

NEW YORK — Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and Toronto pitcher Jesse Carlson each were suspended for three games and fined Wednesday by Major League Baseball for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl.

The pair were cited for “aggressive and inappropriate actions” by Bob Watson, MLB’s vice president for discipline, and started serving the penalties immediately, a day after they tangled.

Yankees utilityman Shelley Duncan also was suspended for three games and appealed, delaying the start of any discipline.

Toronto manager Cito Gaston said Carlson was fined US$3,000 and that Blue Jays catcher Rod Barajas was docked $1,000.

Posada was fined $2,500, and Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long and pitcher Edwar Ramirez also were fined.

After a pair of Toronto players were hit by pitches Tuesday night, Carlson threw a fastball behind Posada in the eighth inning of the Blue Jays’ 10-4 win.

Moments later, Posada bumped Carlson after scoring a run, and the dugouts and bullpens emptied.

Even before the suspension, Posada was not in the starting lineup for the series finale because of a stiff neck, which Yankees manager Joe Girardi said was sustained in the fight.

“That is part of baseball, but that’s a part of baseball that I don’t like,” Girardi said.

“No pun intended, but it’s a black eye for baseball to me whenever there’s a fight or an incident like that because, you know, someone can really get hurt and you can jeopardize someone’s career.”

Still, he understood why pitchers throw behind batters in retaliation.

“They’ve been protecting players for years,” he said.

“It’s an ugly part of the game, but I think it’s important for a team standpoint that you know you have each other’s back. That’s very important, and that will never change.”

Girardi, who had a little scratch on the left side of his face near his eye and a stiff neck, said he did not get hit by a fist from Toronto infielder John McDonald as he lunged into the scrum.

McDonald and Girardi spoke about it before batting practice.

“He was quite disturbed that his name was mentioned in that sort of situation. He’s a peacemaker,” Girardi said.

“I got elbowed accidentally by one of my own players.”

Said McDonald: “I just wanted to let him know that the only reason why I was out on the field was to help make sure nobody got hurt.”

Posada was not available in the clubhouse before Wednesday’s game. Duncan said he was trying to break up the fight.

“I respectfully disagree with the opinion of everyone in my role,” he said.

Gaston understood the penalty against Carlson, who was left with a large red knot on the left side of his forehead.

“I’m not upset with it. It’s got to be done,” he said. “It’s always too many days, but what are you going to do?”

Girardi sounded much the same.

“You figured that there would be something,” he said. “I understand why the league did what they did.”

Umpire Jim Joyce said after the fight that Posada’s elbow shove of Carlson was “very unsportsmanlike” and a “cheap shot.”

“The intensity that we love in Jorgy, sometimes these are the types of things that happen,” Girardi said.

“But I love his heart. I love his intensity and I wouldn’t want to take that away from him.”

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