Chris Sale is not going to be suspended as a part of the Red Sox-Orioles ridiculousness, a source confirmed to CSNNE.
ESPN's Buster Olney first reported that determination.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to reporters in Minnesota on Friday afternoon and elaborated on the conference call he had with the Sox and O’s on Wednesday, the day after Sale threw behind Manny Machado.
“The Orioles and the Red Sox situation had persisted for a substantial period of time,” Manfred said. “I felt it was different than the normal I-hit-your-guy, you-hit-my-guy. As a matter of fact, it had persisted so long, it was hard to trace back who had hit who when and whose turn it was, if you will let me use that phrase.
“Given that fact, we decided we were going to try something a little different in terms of speaking to the clubs and just asking them, no matter where you think you are in this process of back and forth, enough's enough, before someone gets really seriously hurt. I think we were also motivated — there was at least one pitch that was of grave concern to us, a second one that was of serious concern. We just didn't want to see it go any further.”
The pitch of “grave concern” was surely Matt Barnes’ pitch near Machado’s head, that earned Barnes a four-game suspension. The pitch of serious concern was probably Sale’s, based on comments MLB’s Joe Torre made to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal this week. Dylan Bundy’s fastballs at Mookie Betts’ hip may have slipped under the radar.
Manfred left the door open for the rules to change to better protect batters.
“It has been a concern of ours, the issue of hit batsman, throwing at batters,” Manfred said. “It's a concern of ours because it's a safety issue. If you think about the things we've done in recent years — the catchers rule, the second-base slide rule — those are player-safety rules.
“Obviously, this is a similar player-safety issue. It was an issue that we raised during the negotiations over the basic agreement [heading into this season]. I'm hopeful that we're going to have a continuing dialogue with [union head] Tony Clark and the MLBPA about whether our rules in this area are really sufficient.”