Los Angeles Dodgers hard-throwing reliever Joe Kelly has had his eight-game suspension for throwing at Houston Astros players reduced to five on appeal, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel.
Kelly initially was handed an eight-game punishment by MLB after his erratic pitches and demonstrative taunts sparked a benches-clearing situation at Minute Maid Park in Houston last month. The game marked the first time the teams had met since it was revealed Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title that came at the Dodgers’ expense.
Kelly threw a 3-0, 96 mph fastball behind the head of Astros third baseman Alex Bregman with one out and none on in the sixth. Later in the inning, he threw two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa. After striking him out, Kelly made pouty faces at Correa and shared some choice words with the Astros’ shortstop, prompting both benches to clear.
Under the 60-game format, an eight-game suspension would have accounted for more than 13% of the schedule, the equivalent of a 22-game suspension under a typical 162-game season. Over the past 10 years, no player has received a suspension longer than 20 games for a violation that wasn’t tied to performance-enhancing drugs, recreational drugs, substance abuse, domestic violence or, in the case of Juan Carlos Oviedo, identity fraud.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called the original suspension “too aggressive” and said he “completely” agreed with Kelly’s decision to appeal. Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock said he believed it to be “very, very harsh.”
Kelly on Monday was placed on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder, adding to the mounting list of injuries suffered by pitchers at the onset of the shortened season.
Barstool Sports was first to report Kelly’s successful appeal.
Information from ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez was used in this report.