by Steve Mancuso

Nick Castellanos gets 2-game suspension for getting hit by a pitch and letting Yadi Molina grab the back of his neck

In a shocking display of not knowing what they’re doing, MLB has suspended Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos for two games for “aggressive actions and instigating a benches-clearing incident.” The suspension was scheduled to begin tonight, but Castellanos will appeal, delaying any discipline. Three Cardinals and two additional Reds players were fined. The appeal will be heard by the Special Assistant to the Commissioner or the Commissioner.

In case you haven’t seen the incident, here’s what unfolded on Sunday in the bottom of the 4th inning:

The series of events began with Cardinals rookie pitcher Jake Woodford hitting Castellanos with a 93-mph fastball on the back of the arm and ribs. The Cardinals claimed the HBP was unintentional, but there’s reason to believe it was in retaliation for Castellanos show-boating a bit the previous day on a home run. Woodford received no punishment for the HBP. That’s about to become a theme.

Castellanos slid to avoid contact. He didn’t try to bowl over Woodford, which he could have. After the slide, he didn’t touch Woodford or any other Cardinals player. He was walking away from home plate when he was charged from behind by Cardinals catcher Yadi Molina. Molina pushed the home plate umpire, who had moved toward Castellanos, into the Reds outfielder. Molina himself then grabbed Castellanos in the back of the neck before being separated. I make a point about it being the back of Castellanos’ neck to emphasize that the Reds OF was walking away from the situation.

Molina was fined an undisclosed amount, but not suspended, even though he laid hands on an opposing player who was moving in the opposite direction, away from the confrontation. This was not deemed an “aggressive action” or “instigating” in any way.  To review, it was Molina, not Castellanos, who rushed into and pushed an umpire. It was Molina, not Castellanos who grabbed an opposing player in a hostile (not peace-keeping) manner.

Castellenos was ejected during the game. The only player thrown out. Yet MLB decided in its finite wisdom to compound the injustice. Here is reaction from around the baseball world:

Our Matt Wilkes:

David Laurila writer for FanGraphs:

Joel Sherman, sportswriter at the New York Post:

Reds manager David Bell

C. Trent Rosecrans, writer for The Athletic:

Mo Egger, afternoon host of ESPN1530:

Chad Dotson, Reds blogger:

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

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