San Francisco Giants relief pitcher George Kontos won't look back fondly on the day he turned 28. On Wednesday, a day he might otherwise being blowing out candles on a cake, Kontos was suspended and fined by Major League Baseball, and also demoted to Triple-A by the Giants.
Kontos was ejected from Tuesday's game after hitting Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Earlier, he had thrown behind Starling Marte and earned a warning from home plate umpire Wally Bell. Kontos said his hitting McCutchen wasn't on purpose and wasn't retaliation for the Pirates pegging (and injuring) Giants second basemen Marco Scutaro.
All of this might have been a bigger deal, had the Dodgers and Diamondbacks not had a couple bench-clearing shoving matches Tuesday night. Major League Baseball acted first against the Giants, suspending Kontos for three games and fining him an undisclosed amount. Manager Bruce Bochy, also ejected, was suspended a game. He'll serve that Wednesday.
That news for Kontos came a few hours after the Giants announced they were sending him back to Triple-A Fresno. His 2013 numbers — a 5.76 ERA with 19 runs allowed in 29.2 innings — are worse across the board than his 2012 stats. He's already given up more earned runs and home runs than he did all last season. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up and opponents are hitting .278 against him as opposed to .207 in 2012.
We at The Stew hope none of this — the unhappy birthday, or the tough season — is a curse brought on by Kontos winning our Connect Four World Series rematch.
Here are a few interesting tidbits about Kontos and Giants birthdays from CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly.
Kontos said getting optioned on his birthday wasn't the worst thing. He tore his elbow ligament while pitching on his Bday 4 years ago.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) June 12, 2013
The Giants optioned Kontos on his birthday. Two years ago, they did the same thing to Brandon Belt. — Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) June 12, 2013
On the suspension front: We now await word about what action Major League Baseball will take after Tuesday's ugly Dodgers/Diamondbacks game.