Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña received a six-game suspension for drilling Atlanta Braves phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. last week, and now the appeals process has conveniently allowed the pitcher to avoid facing the Braves again this season.
Ureña will drop his appeal of his six-game suspension and will begin serving his punishment during the Marlins’ game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, according to the Miami Herald’s Andre Fernandez.
— Andre Fernandez (@AndreMHsports) August 21, 2018
What led to Jose Ureña’s suspension?
Ureña received the suspension from MLB after opening his start against the Braves last Wednesday with a 97.5-mph fastball that hit Acuña in the elbow, triggering a brawl between both teams. Acuña had to leave the game after the inning, but X-rays and a CT scan revealed no significant damage and the Rookie of the Year was back in the lineup the next day.
The hit-by-pitch came as Acuña was attempting to extend a three-game streak of leadoff home runs and a five-game home run streak, leading to widespread condemnation of Ureña for seemingly targetting Acuna just because Acuna is very good at baseball.
Multiple active and former MLB players publicly blasted Ureña, but he had at least one defender in Mets commentator Keith Hernandez.
Garbage baseball. Hard to throw one pitch and piss off two clubhouses so good luck Jose dealing with the mess you've made.
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) August 16, 2018
#Rays' Kevin Kiermaier on the Acuna-Urena incident: "I was pissed off. Plain and simple. … For Urena to do that, just absolutely uncalled for — and I'm putting that lightly. I'm not gonna use any cuss words — I could — [but] totally uncalled for."
— Matt Marrone (@thebigm) August 16, 2018
Retaliation in this game will never end. If my dynamo leadoff man gets drilled on purpose, it’s on. You absolutely have to respond. Bigger issue is pitchers generally have trouble commanding inside nowadays. Huge velo = worse command.
— Michael Young (@MikeyY626) August 16, 2018
Aaron Boone on the Acuna/Urena incident from last night: "It seemed pretty blatant to me. I hate that. I'll just kind of leave it at that. It had a bad look to it."
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) August 16, 2018
So by this way of thinking, Jacob deGrom should get drilled cuz he’s the hottest pitcher on the planet? NO! I enjoy watching him pitch and I enjoy watching RAJ play the game. I’m old school just like this broadcaster, but these comments are waaay off base! https://t.co/N21hLVxBef
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) August 16, 2018
Why Is Jose Ureña dropping his appeal now?
While Ureña finally accepting his suspension would be considered a win for MLB’s enforcement team, both his decision appeal and the timing of the enforcement might line up just a little too well for the pitcher to be true. Why? The Marlins just happen to be playing Acuña’s Braves in their next series.
By appealing the suspension, Ureña was able to make another start on Sunday, throwing a complete game against the Nationals, then drop the appeal after the game, manipulating when he would serve his already light punishment.
Now that Ureña has accepted his punishment, he will miss the Marlins’ next two games against the Yankees, then the entirety of a four-game series against the Braves. Even more convenient is that is the final series the Marlins are scheduled to play against the Braves this season.
That is all obviously good news for Ureña’s physical well-being, as the entire baseball world seems to be expecting a the pitcher to get drilled the next time he faces the Braves in the batter’s box.
The Marlins are well aware of what the Braves want to do
Ureña probably didn’t think of when he should drop his appeal by himself, and the Marlins very much knew that they wanted to avoid Ureña facing the Braves again. Before the pitcher dropped his appeal, Marlins manager Don Mattingly had already said the team would give Ureña’s rotation spot to rookie reliever Elieser Hernandez.
One way or the other, Urena will NOT start in the Braves series. Mattingly said he would slip Elieser Hernandez into rotation during the Atlanta series.
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) August 18, 2018
Ureña and the Marlins might have just delayed the day he’ll have to face the Braves in the batter’s box, but for now, it looks like any retaliation will have to wait until next season.
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