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Cliff Lee suspended for five games

Mar 17, 2010, 6:48 PM EDT

Cliff Lee has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at Chris Snyder’s head during Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Seems a bit on the harsh side to me. I’m no fan of headhunting, but he didn’t hit him and I don’t recall Lee ever getting in trouble over this sort of thing before.

Of course Lee will likely appeal, if precedent holds the suspension will be dropped to three games, and then Lee really won’t have missed a turn in the rotation.  And hey, possible benefit: instead of starting the season against his opponents’ number one or number two starter, he’ll face an overmatched three or four.

  1. Phil - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    I disagree. It’s spring training. No one should be throwing at a batter intentionally. Save that for when the games count and it has a purpose.

  2. Mark Smith - Mar 17, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    The 5 game is suspension is really only a one-game, but given the disproportionate amount of influence the starting pitcher has in that one game (suspending him for one start is like keeping out a position player for five given the amount the pitcher impacts the game he is in), should the MLB be more creative in punishments? Maybe an inning suspension? He can only pitch three innings in his next appearance?

  3. Michael - Mar 17, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    MLB’s idiotic trend of punishing pitchers for simply throwing inside demonstrates Bud Selig’s unstated desire to make sure there’s plenty of offense, even at the expense of the rules of the game.
    If you’re going to suspend a pitcher for throwing six inches inside, why not suspend him for throwing six inches OUTside? Pitches get away in both directions, but only one comes with a punishment.
    This is beyond stupid – it’s calculated to create higher run scoring by enabling hitters to dig in, making it a perversion of the rules.
    Under the current rules, Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson would be under near-permanent suspension.

  4. AJ Gallo - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    “Simply throwing inside”? He didn’t throw inside, he hit the guy. I totally agree with Phil in that throwing at batters in spring training games should not be allowed at all. This throwing at and hitting batters has suddenly become a bit of an epidemic during this year’s spring training games. I think it’s happened like four times or so already, and it’s ridiculous. The message had to be sent that this has to stop. Believe me, I’m no fan of Selig. In fact, I believe him to be a moron. However, in this instance, a 5-game suspension was, in my opinion, highly warranted and justified.

  5. peteinfla - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Hey AJ, Lee did not actually hit him, he sent one under the chin, and the next over his head. While I agree that there is no call for headhunting, the fact is he sent a message, however flawed his logic may be, but did not actually hit Snyder.

  6. Phil - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    Pete, exactly what message was he sending in a meaningless exhibition game that counts for zilch?

  7. 9-Pin - Mar 17, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    I haven’t seen the footage yet, but if the first one was “under his chin” then I think that would be enough to send the message, and the second was completely unnecessary. Had Lee actually hit Snyder in the back on the first pitch he threw he probably would have been ejected from the game or just warned.
    While I agree that pitchers should be able to pitch inside, from everything I have read, this situation was far from just protecting the inside of the plate.
    He was deliberately trying to hurt an opposing player.

  8. BoomSlang68 - Mar 18, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    Earlier in the game Snyder, while trying to score, accidentally collided with Lee knocking him on his butt. Lee was late backing up home plate on a base hit and Snyder being much bigger made him pay for being lazy. Later Lee’s first pitch to Snyder was a legit up and in fastball that backed him off the plate. The next pitch was at his head and earned him the deserved 5 day suspension.If he doesn’t miss a start, where’s the deterrent?

  9. willmose - Mar 18, 2010 at 8:25 AM

    Lee’s a lefty. Nothing about him makes sense, so don’t try.

  10. AJ Gallo - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Thank you. My apologies, you’re absolutely correct. He didn’t actually hit the guy. I either misinterpreted or misunderstood the account of the incident. However, I do stand by my original premise that throwing at, or hitting, batters in spring training is ridiculous and has to stop.

  11. sc - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    So why has MLB not suspend Zito for intentionally, yes intentionally throwing at Fielder? 5 games is ridiculous.

  12. Charles - Mar 18, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    DC1307: That is the most racist thing I have ever heard.

  13. IdahoMariner - Mar 18, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Actually, Snyder wasn’t trying to score, he was in the ondeck circle and he moved into position to tell the runner to slide (or not, I guess) and he tripped Lee, who was moving into position to back-up the throw to home. And Lee and Snyder both didn’t seem all that perturbed by it. And Snyder started to charge the mound, but had nothing happen at all. But that quibble aside…
    I saw the clip of Lee talking afterwards, and he says he was just trying to locate his pitches inside and the one got away. Yes, he could be lying and I wouldn’t fall for it generally, except that a week or so ago he was pitching in a simulated game and was trying to locate his pitches inside and he hit two Mariners (minor leaguers taking his pitches, but sitll, they’re on his team)…he’s a leftie, it’s spring training and he’s working on his pitches. The pitchers, like the batters, are trying to get their work in, get their pitches located, get up to speed so they are ready for opening day. Lee especially needs to get his wrok in because he started a little late after (extremely minor) surgery. He had to go finish his scheduled number of pitches on a side mound, because he got ejected before he got them in. No, it’s crap if he intended to hit him in the head or scare him into thinking he was going to get hit in the head. But I don’t know how we know that without being him or seeing something besides the actual pitch. Why we all seem to believe that they all, every day of the year, have absolute control of every pitch is crazy.
    and for MLB to suspend him for five games while they continue to lionize Randy Johnson for throwing one at Kruk’s head in the All-Star game (you can still get the clip at on the all-star game page, you don’t have to look far for it, it’s one of their featured ones on a regular basis), and to let Zito go when he actually hit Fielder? well, I guess it’s just more of the inconsistent, we-don’t-actually-have-a-policy-for-anything-we-just-react crap that we’ve come to expect from MLB.

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