Red Sox pitcher who threw at Manny Machado's head gets four-game suspension

What’s the price for head-hunting in MLB these days? As Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes has learned, it’s four games and an undisclosed fine.

Barnes was the Red Sox pitcher who threw a pitch Sunday near the head of Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado, a pitch that was in retaliation for Machado’s rough slide into second base Friday night that injured Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia.

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Barnes didn’t hit Machado, as the ball instead connected with his bat and went on the official record as a foul ball. Barnes contended after the game it wasn’t intentional and the pitch got away from him.

Here is MLB’s complete ruling on the matter, released Monday afternoon:

Boston Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes has received a four-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the area of the head of Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles in the bottom of the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Joe Torre, Chief Baseball Officer for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.

Barnes’ suspension had been scheduled to begin tomorrow, when the Red Sox are to host the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. However, he has elected to appeal. Thus, the discipline issued to Barnes will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.

Manny Machado looks to the mound after a pitch was thrown near his head by Matt Barnes during the eighth inning on Sunday. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Manny Machado looks to the mound after a pitch was thrown near his head by Matt Barnes during the eighth inning on Sunday. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

This whole ordeal has been the cause of much discussion the past 24 hours. Even Pedroia could be seen on the field Sunday telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. I know that and you know that.” After the game Pedroia told reporters it was a “mishandled situation.” The prevailing thought from the Red Sox seemed to be: It’s OK to throw at Machado for his slide, just not at his head.

Meanwhile, Machado was frustrated with always getting cast as the bad guy, telling reporters: “I’m the villain. It’s always me, Manny always does something wrong.”

In his 10 Degrees column, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan writes that baseball’s penalties for head-hunting are “pathetic” and says the game should drastically increase suspensions for such revenge pitchers — unwritten rules, be damned. Passan writes:

A good first step, though, is so thoroughly disincentivizing throwing anywhere in the vicinity of a player’s head that such pitches practically grow extinct. Perhaps this is wishful, but the threat of a 20-game suspension and significant fine would seem to meet that standard. The intention of this is not to usher in an era of punitive penalties in MLB. It’s to legislate away revenge pitches, which almost always result from the breaking of unwritten rules, which in most cases are more of a pox on the game than something that do what they’re supposed to, which, ironically enough, is keep the peace.

Twenty games? That certainly didn’t happen in Barnes’ case.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!