Pitcher Pedro Martinez of U.S. Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox was suspended for five games for hitting Roberto Alomar with a pitch after being warned not to retaliate for a hit batsman.
Martinez, the 1999 American League Cy Young winner, immediately appealed the ruling from Frank Robinson, baseball's vice president of on-field operations. The suspension was announced Wednesday - the same day that Martinez was named the league's pitcher of the month for April.
Martinez, who is 5-0 and leads the AL in wins, earned run average and strikeouts this season, will be able to pitch until his appeal is heard. His next start is scheduled for Saturday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
"I'm hopeful that the suspension will be reduced on appeal," Boston general manager Dan Duquette said before the Red Sox played the Detroit Tigers. "Pedro takes a lot of pride in making his starts when asked. He also takes pride in being a leader on the ballclub."
Martinez, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, didn't comment on the ruling, but said earlier in the week that he did not expect to be punished for his role in two bench-clearing confrontations last Sunday in Cleveland.
"There's no discipline to be issued. There's nothing. There's no fight," Martinez said Monday. "This is all part of the game."
Alomar also declined comment, but other members of the Cleveland Indians were still upset about the incident.
"He deserved it. He deserved to get something. If not a suspension, a fine or whatever," shortstop Omar Vizquel said in Cleveland. "That was pretty chicken, what he did."
Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy was also fined, but not suspended, for hitting Boston's Jose Offerman moments before Martinez beaned Alomar. He said he would not appeal.
Sunday's confrontations began when Martinez brushed back Einar Diaz, who had doubled twice already, with a pitch in the seventh inning. The two glared at each other across the diamond.
In the top of the eighth, Nagy hit Offerman in the side with a pitch. As Offerman took a few steps toward the mound, the Red Sox and Indians ran onto the field from the dugouts and bullpens.
After the umpires warned him not to throw at any batters, Martinez hit Alomar in the backside in the bottom of the inning and was ejected.
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