Major League Baseball suspended White Sox starters Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija five games each for their roles in Thursday night’s brawl with Kansas City.
Both players will appeal their suspensions and make their scheduled starts next week in Baltimore, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. Four Royals players were suspended as well: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (seven games), right-hander Edinson Volquez (five games), outfielder Lorenzo Cain (two games) and right-hander Kelvin Herrera (two games).
The White Sox haven’t determined a course of action in case Sale and/or Samardzija lose their appeals, though the club will skip right-hander Hector Noesi’s turn in the rotation — John Danks is scheduled to face Volquez in Sunday afternoon’s season finale following Saturday's rainout. Volquez would have to appeal his suspension to start Sunday.
Hahn said it’s “too early” for the club to make a decision on giving recently-promoted left-hander Carlos Rodon a spot start in place for Sale or Samardzija.
“Certainly Carlos is stretched out and does have the ability to start should he be needed,” Hahn said. “At the same time we need to balance that against keeping him on the current program as well as some of the other potential alternatives we have within the system to make a spot start should we get to that point.”
The fact the White Sox may have to look for alternatives for their two top starters — and right-hander Matt Albers, who will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a finger injury sustained in the brawl — is part of why Hahn said he wished “the whole thing had not happened.” But the third-year general manager said he was pleased with the players involved in the brawl showing remorse and taking responsibility for their actions.
Hahn did say the brawl may foster team unity, though that appears to be more of a pyrrhic victory given the loss of Albers and potential losses of Sale and Samardzija. But Hahn doesn’t want to see Sale or Samardzija — especially Sale, who’s been involved in some dust-ups in the past — change who they are because of the repercussions of Thursday’s fight.
Hahn said he talked with Sale Friday and Saturday about attempting to confront Ventura in the visitor’s clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field and, while keeping the details private, said the conversations were good.
“Part of what makes these guys good is the competitive fire,” Hahn said. “Part of what makes a guy a front-end starter is that fight, that passion and the desire to excel between the lines. Certainly that’s part of their makeup and sometimes that carries over outside of the lines. As they continue in their big league careers and mature, they realize how to ideally keep that between the lines.
"But in terms of Chris’ makeup or character, anything along those lines, no, there’s absolutely no concern. He has a special makeup and that’s part of what makes him great.”