ARLINGTON, Texas – The fallout from White Sox reliver Mike Wright’s ejection earlier this week became clear on Saturday.
Major League Baseball fined Wright and suspended him for three games, ruling that Wright intentionally threw at Angels star Shohei Ohtani in the series finale at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday. Wright has opted to appeal.
In tandem with Wright’s suspension, White Sox manager Tony La Russa received a fine and automatic suspension. He will serve his suspension Saturday at Texas. Bench coach Miguel Cairo will serve as acting manager.
“I was disappointed by the umpire’s decision,” La Russa said Satruday in Arlington. “Once that happens, this is all automatic. I just don’t think that there’s been enough information that’s really been distributed.
“We’ve hit fewer batters than any team in Major League Baseball. And most importantly, if you watched how we pitched Ohtani for three days, we avoided the middle of the plate. In, away, up, down, we avoided the middle.”
La Russa is right that the White Sox, who have hit 47 batters all season, sit dead last in that category. White Sox pitchers were also successful against Ohtani in a three-game home series against the Angels. He went 2-for-13 with seven strikeouts.
Wright hit Ohtani in the two-way phenom’s last plate appearance of the series, with two outs in the ninth inning and the White Sox trailing by six runs. Wright threw four straight inside pitches to Ohtani, including two that weren’t anywhere near the strike zone.
The first pitch, Ohtani fouled off. The second was off the plate. The third was low. The fourth hit Ohtani.
“I didn’t see the scrutiny being even,” La Russa said. “Because it was that one pitch, we had plenty of opportunities to be upset, and we were just pitching him the same way we pitched him the whole time. But our guys, three guys get hit, one guy gets hit in the head, Abreu gets hit for the 19th time (this season), and nobody pays attention to that. There’s an unfairness there that upsets me.”
La Russa made his displeasure known in the moment, arguing Wright’s ejection until crew chief Bill Welke threw La Russa out of the game too.
After the game, La Russa railed against the reasoning that the White Sox might retaliate after Angels pitchers hit three White Sox batters on Tuesday. The scariest of the three came when Luis Robert took a fastball off the helmet.
“(Welke) felt that there was stuff flying in that first game,” La Russa said in his postgame press conference Tuesday. “It was all us getting hit. And he noticed all that, but they didn't do anything.”
Wright’s appeal will push back any discipline he may face until after the process.
“I’m glad he’ll have a chance to explain it,” La Russa said Saturday, “because I think that there’s a lot to explain.”