Miguel Cabrera suspended seven games for touching off brawl

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has been suspended seven games for inciting the first benches-clearing incident and fighting during Thursday's game against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park, Major League Baseball announced Friday.

Yankees All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez received a four-game suspension for fighting, including throwing punches.

Tigers pitcher Alex Wilson also was suspended four games for intentionally throwing a pitch at Todd Frazier while warnings were in place for both sides.

Yankees catcher Austin Rominereceived a two-game suspension for fighting, including throwing punches.

All four players have said they will appeal, so they will remain eligible to play until their appeals are ruled upon. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus' one-game suspension for the intentional actions of Wilson while warnings were in place is also on hold because it is tied to Wilson's suspension.

"I figured because it started with Miggy that his would be big," Ausmus said, referring to the length of the suspension. "I'm a little surprised at how short Gary Sanchez's is, quite frankly, considering some of the video I saw. I think that one probably shocked me the most. I thought he would get the largest suspension."

All five who were suspended also received undisclosed fines.

Others who were fined for their actions during the incidents were Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Yankees bench coach/acting manager Rob Thomson, Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, Yankees pitcher Tommy Kahnle and Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias. In addition, two members of the Yankees -- first baseman Garrett Cooper and outfielder Clint Frazier--received fines for entering the field while being on the disabled list.

Detroit starter Michael Fulmer began the altercations by hitting Sanchez after the Yankees catcher had homered off him.

Fulmer received neither a suspension nor a fine. Girardi just slightly smiled when asked if he thought it was appropriate that Fulmer did not receive any penalty. The manager declined to answer.

The initial incident occurred when Cabrera and Romine fought at home plate, leading both dugouts to clear during the sixth inning. The fight was part of a crazy day of hit batters and punches exchanged between the sides. Both Cabrera and Romine were ejected, but they were not alone. In separate incidents, Girardi and Kahnle were ejected in the sixth inning; Thomson and reliever Dellin Betances were ejected in the seventh; and Ausmus and Wilson were ejected in the eighth.

Sanchez has been criticized for what were perceived as sucker punches, after he hit Cabrera andNicholas Castellanoswhen they were defenseless.

Baseball Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who once threw down Yankees coach Don Zimmer during a fight, said that Sanchez "could be badly remembered for this for a long time."

"He's entitled to his opinion," Sanchez said. "If he feels like that, that's him."

A series of events led to Cabrera and Romine jawing in the sixth. Cabrera made the first move by pushing Romine in the chest and taking a swing.

"I still think I was defending myself," Romine said. "Obviously, we are going to have to appeal it."

Girardi said the Yankees would try to stagger the suspensions so that they have either Sanchez or Romine available. Girardi said he did not know who would serve as the backup when Sanchez and Romine are out. The Yankees' top minor league catcher is Kyle Higashioka.

Just before the fight, Yankees reliever Kahnle had fired a pitch behind Cabrera. Kahnle was immediately thrown out by plate ump Carlos Torres.

"It's MLB. They can do whatever they want, and they have to control the situation. But be fair," Cabrera said. "Watch the video. See the people throw punches. See the people go after me when I was on the floor. I don't ask that you give me fewer games. I don't care. I take my responsibility. But come on.

"The guy [Kahnle] who threw at me? He said, 'No, it was an inside pitch.' Come on. Say the truth. Why not say the truth? I think that's bulls---."

Cabrera also singled out Yankees sluggerAaron Judge, who was not suspended or fined.

"My point is, why are they not saying anything about Judge? He tried to hit me, go after me on the floor," Cabrera said. "They didn't suspend him. There was a lot of people going after me and they didn't get a suspension.

"[Judge] is going to get away [with it]? And the pitcher who threw at me, he's going to get away [with it] too, with no suspension? That's bulls---."

Speaking with reporters before Friday's game, Ausmus strongly denied a claim made by Girardi that he had yelled an obscenity at Gardner when the benches cleared for a third and final timein the eighth inning.

Ausmus said Girardi "didn't have the right information."

"That's not what happened," Ausmus said. "I've known Joe since 1993, when we were together with theRockies. I have a lot of respect for Joe. But he had been ejected from the game, and he was getting information secondhand.

"There was no unsolicited, 'F--- you,' to Brett Gardner, I promise you that."

Ausmus explained his side of the story, saying that he noticed Gardner staring him down when the benches cleared early in the game and that Gardner was glaring at him again when the benches cleared in the eighth.

"I never said, 'F--- you,'" Ausmus said. "What I did say is, 'Brett, what the f--- are you looking at?' That's what set him off. But for Joe to make that claim, I think, is a mistake, because he got bad information."

Ausmus said he didn't know why Gardner was upset with him. Ausmus also said he took exception with what he felt were false accusations by Girardi.

"This one upset me because it wasn't true," Ausmus said. "To make it inflammatory and say something I didn't, it just sat wrong with me. It made me look like something I'm not, and I can't accept that.

"I have all the respect in the world for Joe Girardi. But I think in this case, he was misinformed."

ESPN Yankees reporter Andrew Marchand contributed to this report.

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