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Los Angeles Dodgers Catch Break in Brawl Suspensions

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COMMENTARY | Major League Baseball announced the suspensions for in the brawl between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers caught a break.

None of the Dodgers' key players were suspended and the longest suspension was just two games. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks had Ian Kennedy suspended for ten games and Eric Hinske suspended for five games for their role in the events that went down Tuesday night in Dodgers Stadium. The Diamondbacks' manger Kirk Gibson was suspended for one game.

Kennedy received the harshest suspension, and justifiably so, for throwing at two players' heads. Even if the first was not intentional, the second can't be seen as anything but intentional -- and potentially career-threatening.

The Dodgers had five men suspended, but just three players.

Skip Schumaker and J.P. Howell each were suspended two games for "aggressive actions." In Howell's case, that was trying a WWE-style move on Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach Turner Ward. Schumaker was seen holding Ward in a headlock after Howell bent him over the railing.

Ronald Belisario was suspending one game, also for "aggressive actions." Belisario threw punches, but did not connect with anyone (or, to be honest, come very close).

These three can appeal their suspensions and are allowed to play while their appeals are pending; it is likely the appeals will happen while the Dodgers are in New York next week according to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA.

Manager Don Mattingly was suspended one game and hitting coach Mark McGwire were also suspended, Mattingly "for the actions of his club and his conduct during the incidents" and McGwire "for his conduct during the incidents."

It is surprising that Mattingly did not get a longer suspension considering he threw Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammell to the ground during the brawl.

Dodgers Who Weren't Suspended

The Dodgers seemingly got off lightly. Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw -- the best hitter on the team and the best pitcher in the National League -- both were involved and many thought they threw punches. Yet neither was suspended, though Puig was fined.

In fact, the man that many thought Puig hit, Hinske, was suspended for five games. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, citing a source, says Hinske was suspended for hitting Puig first.

Kershaw didn't even get fined, even though Sportscenter and various MLB Network shows appeared to show Kershaw throwing a punch to the body of a member of the Diamondbacks team or staff (with his non-pitching hand, heeding the advice of Crash Davis from Bull Durham).

And then there's Greinke. Everyone agrees that Greinke hitting Montero was on purpose -- even the umpires said in their report after the game that it as deliberate. Pitchers have been ejected for this before, even without the umpires warning. And in other cases, pitchers have been suspended for this type of action.

With Greinke's reputation for hitting batters, especially after the incident where Carlos Quentin overreacted and ended up breaking Greinke's collarbone, it would not have been a surprise if Greinke received a token one- or two-game suspension.

What This Means for the Dodgers

There won't be many changes for the Dodgers because of this suspension.

Trey Hillman will manage instead of Mattingly for the first game in Pittsburgh; McGwire won't be in the dugout for the first two games in the Pittsburgh series.

The Dodgers players will likely appeal their suspensions and play tonight. Belisario and Howell can stagger their appeals so the Dodgers aren't losing two relievers at once. And with Hanley Ramirez coming back, Skip Schumaker's absence won't be as big a deal.

Also, the Dodgers won't be able to have players on the disabled list in the dugout for one week. This is because players on the disabled list like Chris Capuano and Josh Beckett left the bench during the brawl.

So players on the disabled list who make the trip to Pittsburgh and New York City, like Matt Kemp, will have to watch the game from a suite.

All in all, not as bad is could have been.

The suspensions don't look like they will hurt the team as much as I had feared. Now the Dodgers can put this brawl behind them -- and put that energy towards winning games.

Matthew Reichbach is a freelance writer and lifelong follower of the Dodgers from their minor league affiliates to the major league club.

You can follow Matthew on Twitter at @3_2count.

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