Angels pitcher, manager suspended for pitch that hit Astros player

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Los Angeles Angels pitcher Noe Ramirez, who threw a pitch that struck Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick in the upper shoulder, has been suspended three games by Major League Baseball.

The Angels said Ramirez will also be fined for the pitch that happened in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's game in Anaheim.

It was speculated that the pitch was retaliation for an earlier incident involving Marisnick, but Ramirez insisted the throw just got away from him.

Major League Baseball also banned and fined Angels manager Brad Ausmus due to the incident. Ausmus, a former Astros player, is serving his suspension during Wednesday night's game vs. Houston.

If he doesn't appeal, Ramirez's suspension will also begin Wednesday.

The high pitch appeared to come close to Marisnick's head, but struck him on the back of his upper shoulder. The result was both benches clearing. Both sides were warned by umpires, and a verbal confrontation broke out between Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and several Astros in the dugout, including pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Justin Verlander.

An altercation between the teams seemed imminent until Marisnick waved at his team to return to the dugout. Some fans speculated that the hit may have been retaliation.

Marisnick was suspended two games after he ran into Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy while trying to score in Houston nine days ago, leaving Lucroy with a concussion and a broken nose.

Lucroy is out for at least three more weeks. Marisnick is currently appealing his suspension.

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Before the suspension was announced, manager A.J. Hinch vaguely hinted at retaliation if Ramirez wasn't punished by Major League Baseball.

"Wasn't everybody expecting something to happen to Jake tonight?'' Hinch asked. "I mean, the entire industry was probably expecting it. Our guy got suspended for an unintentional act, and they got a free shot. I feel bad for players nowadays. There's a lot of gray area in what to do.''

Marisnick, a native of Riverside, likely isn't on board with that mentality. He noticeably tried to calm his teammates during the fracas, and he attempted to shrug off the heavy boos that greeted his every move at Angel Stadium.

"It's not what I want,'' said Marisnick, who had two hits. "It was an unfortunate play back in Houston. I feel terrible about it. To come here and have something like this go down, it (stinks)."

"It was a little high, a little inside. There's unwritten rules in baseball, and I think as players we respect them. I think that's a question for him, if it was intentional or not. I'm not the one throwing the baseball.''

Ramirez, one of the Angels' most effective relievers, repeatedly insisted the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

"I was just trying to sneak a fastball by him,'' he said. "I threw two sliders away. I think the scouting report on me is I might sneak a fastball in there after a couple off-speed pitches. I tried to sneak one by him in, and it just got away from me.

"They're a good team, so I wasn't trying to give them any sort of chance. They get a baserunner on, they're a pretty good team. They get a rally going pretty good. That's the last thing I was trying to do.''

Angels manager Brad Ausmus agreed with his pitcher that the high and inside pitch to Marisnick was not intentional.

"The first pitch was a strike," Ausmus said. "If he swings at it and hits it, we're not even talking about it. It's tough to go to a 1-and-1 count with any intent. Noe is a right-handed pitcher who comes down from the side and sometimes people get hit."

Hinch disagreed, and the manager also wasn't happy about the way it happened.

"I wish they would have handled it better,'' Hinch said. "It was too high. If they're going to hit guys, they need to hit guys the right way. They don't need to throw two ... sliders and then throw at a guy at the neck level. That's not right. That's not the right way to do it, even if you're allowed to do it, which you apparently are nowadays.''
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