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Major League Baseball has suspended Philadelphia Phillies closer Héctor Neris for three games after "intentionally throwing a pitch in the area of the head of David Freese" during Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Joe Torre, Chief Baseball Officer for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.
Neris was also fined an undisclosed amount for the pitch, which struck Freese in the back just below the back of his head during the ninth inning of the Phillies’ 9-8 victory. Both Neris and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler were ejected by home plate umpire Chris Conroy after the pitch.
It’s reported that Neris will appeal the suspension, meaning he’s available to pitch during Wednesday’s game which is also against the Dodgers.
Neris is appealing the suspension, which means he would be available tonight. https://t.co/DbyaxUeDtW
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 17, 2019
After Tuesday’s game, Neris denied hitting Freese on purpose.
“No, nothing crazy,” Neris said. “I just wanted to throw inside, and I hit him. I didn’t hit him on purpose. I just want to throw my ball in.”
Neris came on to protect a two-run ninth-inning lead when the skies opened and rain started falling during his warmup pitches. A brief rain delay followed, after which Neris was never able to get on track.
The Phillies closer faced four batters, resulting in a walk, single, three-run home run and then the hit batter. Perhaps the weather was a factor, or perhaps Neris is mired in a real funk. Overall, he’s allowed 12 runs, four homers, and six walks in 11 innings over his last 12 appearances.
Neris said he “almost jumped over his chair” with excitement after Bryce Harper’s ninth-inning heroics bailed him out on Tuesday. We’re guessing his reaction to the suspension wasn’t so joyful.
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