The ruling on the Astros-A’s incident, which was made by Chris Young, the former pitcher who now serves as M.L.B.’s senior vice president for operations, came two weeks after Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for throwing at several Astros batters and sparking another benches-clearing incident. Kelly was banned for eight games.
Cintron’s suspension set a new bar for penalties for violations of the league’s safety protocols. His punishment was more severe in part because he instigated the fight, but also because of his position of responsibility as a coach.
“I just thought they threw the book at us big time,” Astros Manager Dusty Baker said in a video call with reporters. “What can you do? The rule is the rule.”
A 20-game suspension would be severe in any season, but the impact of the punishment is far greater in a pandemic-shortened season of only 60 games. Laureano, who was drafted by the Astros in 2014 and spent time in their minor league system before being traded to Oakland in 2017, has appealed his suspension and is allowed to continue playing until M.L.B. makes a ruling. Coaches do not have the option to appeal.