The Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees would both play without their main sluggers for a few games following Thursday’s dramatic fight-filled game between the two teams.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was banned for seven games and New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez got barred four games for their actions at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
Major League Baseball delivered the penalties one day after the Yankees and Tigers became entangled into a trio of beanball-related clashes during Detroit’s 10-6 victory.
Besides Sanchez and Cabrera, Tigers reliever Alex Wilson was also suspended for four games, Yankees catcher received two games and Detroit manager Brad Ausmus got one. All four players said they were appealing and remain eligible until the process is complete.
"It's going to be four games that I'm not going to be able to help the team and I know they need me, so it's not a good feeling," Sanchez said through a translator.
Before Thursday’s brawl, the Yankees were leading the wild-card race and were only 4 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place. Detroit, however, have a losing record of 55 71, keeping them out of the playoff race for now.
Veteran all-star slugger Cabrera squared off with Romine at home plate in the most dramatic fight of the day, was annoyed that 6-foot-7, 282-pound Yankees player Aaron Judge was not punished. Cabrera claimed Judge tried to punch him while he was on the ground.
"There was a lot of people going after me over there and I got a suspension," Cabrera said in Chicago. "I'm not surprised. They're MLB, they do whatever they want and they have to control this situation. But be fair. See the video, see the people who throw punches, see the people who were after me when I was on the floor. That's it."
Replays clearly showed Sanchez throwing punches at prone Tigers players who were down near the bottom of piles.
"Things got out of control pretty quickly there," Sanchez said. "I have a really good relationship with Romine. In the moment of everything, instinct takes over. I went out there to defend my teammate, my team. Definitely the situation got out of control a little bit there, but at the end of it all, what you're trying to do is you're trying to go out there and protect your team."
Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, ejected after hitting Tigers catcher James McCann in the helmet with a pitch, was not suspended or even fined.
Detroit starter Michael Fulmer also avoided any punishment despite hitting Sanchez with a pitch after he homered off the right-hander.
All five individuals who got suspended also were fined an undisclosed amount. Others fined for their actions included Yankees manager Joe Girardi, bench coach Rob Thomson, outfielder Brett Gardner, reliever Tommy Kahnle and Tigers shortstop José Iglesias.
Kahnle was ejected for throwing behind Cabrera after Sanchez was plunked by Fulmer.
"The guy threw at me," Cabrera said, not buying Kahnle's explanation that the pitch simply got away. "C'mon, why didn't you say you threw? Be a man and say you threw."
Wilson and Ausmus were ejected in the eighth inning after Wilson hit Todd Frazier around the thigh with a pitch, prompting the benches to clear for a third time.
Wilson essentially acknowledged he drilled Frazier on purpose to "take care" of his teammates and "make a stand." The pitcher felt as though that contributed to his suspension.
MLB said Triple Crown winner Cabrera was suspended for "inciting the first bench-clearing incident and fighting," while Sanchez was penalized "for fighting, including throwing punches."
The news release also said Wilson was punished "for intentionally throwing a pitch" at Frazier "while warnings were in place for both sides." Romine was banned for "fighting, including throwing punches," and Ausmus got barred "for the intentional actions of Wilson while warnings were in place."
"I still think I was defending myself," said Romine, whose brother, Andrew, plays for the Tigers.
A pair of Yankees players, first baseman Garrett Cooper and outfielder Clint Frazier, received fines for going onto the field while they were on the disabled list.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.