According to a press release from Major League Baseball this afternoon, Washington Nationals' closer Jonathan Papelbon has received a three-game suspension for throwing at Baltimore Orioles' infielder Manny Machado in Wednesday night's game in the nation's capital.
Papelbon was immediately ejected from the game after throwing a fastball up high that hit Machado in the left/front shoulder in the ninth inning.
After the game, Nationals' manager Matt Williams argued that the hit by pitch was unintentional.
"We've just double-switched there in an effort to have him pitch two innings," Williams said.
"So he knows that coming into the ballgame. I don't think there's intent on hitting him on purpose. I know he wants to throw fastballs in. Threw him a good breaking for a strike and tried to come in again and it got away. But, no, I think he's simply trying to pitch in. It puts in a tough spot when it's that quick of a hook because it's our closer in the game with the intent on us potentially tying it in the ninth and him going another inning, so no, I don't think there's intent there."
Jonathan Papelbon said he wasn't throwing at Manny Machado and had no problem w Machado's reaction to homer. #Nats— Chris Johnson (@masnCJ) September 24, 2015
In regards to the ejection, Papelbon said it doesn't matter if he hit Machado or not because "perception is reality."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 24, 2015
Machado and Orioles were clear that they believed the pitch was intentional after the O's slugger hit a go-ahead home run off Nationals' starter Max Scherzer in the at bat before the HBP.
Asked for his thoughts on whether or not Papelbon's pitch was intentionally aimed at Machado, O's skipper Buck Showalter said he saw it like home plate umpire Mark Ripperger did.
"About the same as the umpires," Showalter said on MASN. "Yeah, pretty obvious.
"I actually thought they were throwing at Chris [Davis] 3-1 earlier in the game. But it's part of it, you know. Believe me, I've got some real private thoughts about it, but I thought Manny handled himself well and took the high ground for the most part and responded to it about an inning earlier."
Bryce Harper, Papelbon's teammate, didn't seem too thrilled with the pitch either.
"I mean, Manny freakin' hit a homer and walked it off and somebody drilled him," Harper said. "I mean, it's pretty tired. So, it's one of those situations where it happens and I don't know, I'll probably get drilled tomorrow, so we'll see what happens."
Harper didn't get drilled, but the Orioles swept the three-game set with a win in the series finale in D.C.
After the announcement of the suspension this afternoon, the Nationals sent a note out to reporters covering the team saying that Papelbon will appeal the suspension.
WSH RHP Papelbon has received a 3-gm suspension for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Manny Machado. pic.twitter.com/TfgCgtmDA6— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) September 25, 2015