BALTIMORE --- Dan Duquette thinks that the eight-game suspension for having a foreign substance on his arm meted out on Brian Matusz may be a little bit too harsh.
“Starting pitcher’s penalties have been 10 games, relievers have been getting eight games for this,” Duquette said. “The reliever penalty seems much more substantial at eight games than a starter’s penalty at 10 games because a reliever could conceivably be available for all eight of those games.”
When the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations was asked if the penalty was too much, he chuckled.
“Not if gets reduced,” Duquette said.
Will Smith, Milwaukee’s reliever who was also sanctioned for this violation, was given an eight-game suspension. His appeal has yet to be heard.
Duquette believes that Matusz was not trying to cheat.
“Pitchers, they’re trying to grip the ball so they can make an effective pitch and I think Brian Matusz’s intent was pure, that he wanted to grip the ball to make a pitch. Dependent upon the conditions, where you are, the stadium, the temperature; there are a lot of variables that go into gripping a baseball. It’s a pitcher’s responsibility to make a good pitch and get the hitter out, so the pitchers want to grip the ball effectively to be able to have confidence they can make a pitch,” Duquette said.
In June 2014, Duquette spoke at the hearing when Manny Machado was suspended five games for bat throwing. Machado’s penalty was not reduced. He declined to say whether he would speak on Matusz’s behalf, but said the Orioles would have a representative at the hearing. The date of the hearing is expected to be set by the end of the week.