Youkilis Could Be Expecting a Weeklong Suspension


Aug 12, 2009

Kevin Youkilis' spirited charge toward 20-year-old Rick Porcello might have lit a fire under a listless Red Sox team on Tuesday night. Though it may have provided a boost in the short term, it could have some lasting effects in the longer term.

Though no official word has yet to come down, Youkilis will assuredly be suspended. If history is any indication, it won't be short.

Last June, following a back-and-forth series of events between Coco Crisp and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox' center fielder was struck in the rear end with a James Shields fastball. Crisp initially began walking toward first base before flipping off his helmet and charging at the Rays' pitcher. Crisp dodged a haymaker from Shields as both teams pounced on each other.

The aftermath saw a number of suspensions. For the Red Sox, Crisp got seven games, starting pitcher Jon Lester got five for hitting a batter (though it appeared to be accidental) and first baseman Sean Casey got a three-game sentence, though it was never clear what he did.

For Tampa, Shields was suspended six games, while the third (Johnny Gomes), fourth (Edwin Jackson), fifth (Akinori Iwamura) and sixth (Carl Crawford) men involved in the brawl were handed suspensions that totaled 17 games.

Looking at Tuesday night's incident, it's unlikely that such a high number of players will be suspended. Youkilis is a definite, and so is Porcello. The young righty might have a case that a pitch got away from him, but given his high and tight fastball to Victor Martinez just one at-bat prior to the Youkilis pitch, MLB officials will have no choice but to suspend him.

Other than those two, no individuals stand out as suspendable. Junichi Tazawa's pitch to Miguel Cabrera that the Tigers' slugger him on the hands got the whole mess started, but with two runners on, two outs and an 0-2 count, the very last thing a rookie pitcher making his first career start would want to do would be to hit someone.

Once the brawl got started, nobody else did anything too offensive. David Ortiz quickly jumped into the middle of the pile but largely played peacemaker. Ryan Raburn whiffed on his attempt to stop Youkilis. Jackson, who got handed a five-game suspension last year as a member of the Rays, bounced around the outer edge of the scuffle but proved to be completely harmless.

The X factor for Youkilis is that he threw his helmet at a retreating Porcello. Last year, overgrown first baseman Richie Sexson pulled the same act on Rangers pitcher (and former Red Sox) Kason Gabbard. For that offense, Sexson was suspended six games.

Sexson's suspension was not as long as Crisp's, perhaps partly due to the fact that Crisp, after the incident, divulged his premeditated plans to go after Shields.

Helmets were also flying in 2000, when Detroit third baseman Dean Palmer charged the mound after being struck with a pitch by the White Sox' Jim Parque. Palmer tossed his helmet at Parque and was ejected. When a fight broke out later in the game, Palmer emerged from the clubhouse to join the fracas.

For his offenses, Palmer was handed an eight-game suspension.

Other Red Sox suspensions in recent history include Jason Varitek, who, you may remember, did this to Alex Rodriguez in late July of 2004. Varitek and A-Rod were each handed four-game suspensions and $2,000 fines.

Josh Beckett was suspended for six games earlier this season when he sent a pitch toward the head of Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu. Though Beckett didn't actually hit Abreu, he was found accountable for his "aggressive actions" after Abreu took exception to the pitch. Abreu did not charge the mound and was not suspended.

In 2000, the Red Sox were on the opposite end of things when Gerald Williams charged Pedro Martinez in a game in Tampa Bay. Williams was suspended five games for the incident, while Martinez was not penalized.

The soft-spoken Derek Lee of the Cubs charged the mound against San Diego pitcher Chris Young in June of 2007, earning himself a five-game suspension.

Last week, after Dustin Pedroia watched a pitch sail above his head and another hit him squarely in the shoulder, he voiced his displeasure but avoided any punishment by simply taking his base.

Youkilis on Tuesday, however, had had enough. He was hit on Monday night as a retaliation for a Brady Penny pitch that hit Cabrera in the elbow. Getting hit for the second straight day (and the 10th time of the season) was apparently more than Youkilis could take.

Now, he'll likely have a week to cool off.

Previous Article

Red Sox Gearing Up for Postseason Push

Next Article

Red Sox to Hold Event for Troops on Thursday

Picked For You