Shane Victorino suspended for fight
A pair of Giants players who expected one-game suspensions only received fines after playing key roles in the benches-clearing brawl between NL division leaders Friday night. No one was injured.
Major League Baseball also fined Victorino an undisclosed amount. Victorino declined to address the suspension Monday night as the NL East-leading Phillies opened a three-game series at Dodger Stadium with a 5-3 victory.
"Victorino's aggressive actions prolonged the bench-clearing incident between the clubs," the commissioner's office said in announcing the penalties.
Victorino can continue to play until the appeal process is complete. In Monday's victory in Los Angeles, Victorino went 3 for 5 with a double and a solo home run as the Phillies improved their major-league best record to 75-40.
Philadelphia was eliminated by San Francisco in six games last fall in the NL Championship Series. The Giants went on to win the franchise's first World Series title since moving West in 1958.
"I thought it was well done," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of MLB's decisions. "And I'm not saying that because we didn't have any suspensions. It was pretty clean out there."
The trouble broke out in the sixth inning after Ramirez hit Victorino in the lower back with a pitch, moments after Jimmy Rollins stole second with a six-run lead -- a move Giants outfielder Carlos Beltran criticized afterward. Victorino began walking toward the mound as the benches cleared. Victorino later pushed plate umpire Mike Muchlinski trying to get back into the fracas.
Victorino was held back by Giants bench coach Ron Wotus and Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross, then also escaped the grasp of manager Charlie Manuel. Polanco said afterward he was trying to protect Victorino.
If Victorino had gone to first base after he was hit by Ramirez's pitch, Ramirez would have been the only player fined, an MLB source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
Ramirez was fined for intentionally hitting a player with a pitch. Pitchers are suspended for throwing at the head or hitting a batter after warnings have been issued, the source told Olney.
Whiteside was deemed to also have been aggressive, but he was viewed as trying to defend his pitcher, which explains why he was only fined, the source told Olney.
Victorino and Manuel thought Ramirez plunked the center fielder on purpose, something Ramirez denied Monday in his first comments about the brawl. He did expect to receive a one-game suspension.
Whiteside tackled Polanco in the skirmish after Polanco came charging in from second base.
"They were the ones that provoked it," Manuel said Monday. "Vic probably felt like he had to stand up for himself. Usually when you get into things like that on the field, and you get into a little pushing and fighting, whatever you want to call it, somebody gets suspended. And when you get one of your front-line players suspended, it hurts the team of course because of the games they miss. But it's good that it was just one guy."
Neither Ramirez nor Whiteside knew the amount of their fines.
Ramirez said he figured he would be suspended for at least one game based on the perception that he had plunked Victorino on purpose.
"I didn't try to hit him," Ramirez said before the Giants opened a three-game series against the Pirates. "It's a surprise (not to be fined). I was waiting for a suspension. They thought it was on purpose but it wasn't. Now, it's important to focus on pitching. I want to help the team win games."
Whiteside, a former football player, said he has long been taught to protect the pitcher -- and that's all he had in mind when he saw Polanco coming and began bouncing around to defend Ramirez.
"That was my intention, to go protect Ramon," Whiteside said. "I'm happy with the outcome. A lot of guys are getting suspended for things like that. I thought I might get a game. I'm happy not to miss any time. I felt like I didn't take a swing at anybody. I didn't throw any punches."
Information from ESPN The Magazine senior baseball writer Buster Olney and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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