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MLB hits Rays hard



MLB came down hard on the Rays for Thursday's brawl, suspending James Shields for six games, Jonny Gomes and Edwin Jackson for fives games each, Carl Crawford for four games and Akinori Iwamura for three games.
Three Boston players were also suspended - Coco Crisp for seven games, Jon Lester for five games and Sean Casey for three games. And nothing for 3B coach DeMarlo Hale, who was said to have body-slammed Shields to the ground.
Manager Joe Maddon said the discipline was unfairly heavy against the Rays given that Crisp started the incidents on both Wednesday with a hard slide and Thursday by charging the mound.
"I would like to have seen more of their guys involved in the suspensions; it just seems to be a little bit imbalanced in our favor,'' Maddon said. "Furthermore, the way they whole thing began, it was perpetrated on their side so that part of it has the unfairness attached to it.
"The fact that their guy started it and we had more guys nailed than they did, that's the part that doesn't sit well with me even in regard to the game (Thursday) where they only got one guy thrown out. I really didn't like that either.''
The Shields and Gomes suspensions were supposed to start tonight but they will appeal, Maddon said, which delays the start. If nothing else, that is a way for the Rays to get a better sense of who will be out when.
The suspensions were announced just before batting practice, and Maddon had a closed door team meeting to discuss the situation. All players were also fined the usual "undisclosed amonts."
Maddon had a couple of specific issues as well.
His biggest was why Crisp only got seven games if Gomes and Crawford got five and four for coming to their teammates' defense. "Those are incongruent,'' Maddon said. "I really believe we reacted to a situation, which I don't think anybody, anywhere would deny we reacted in the appropriate manner based on what happened. When the perpetrator's time is way too close to us, and we reacted to it, I don't agree with that.''
Another was why Lester was not ejected by the umpires but was suspended for "intentionally throwing" at a Rays batter. "I don't understand that, quite frankly,'' he said.
And another was why Shields was suspended for that long when he was defending himself. "Shields' suspension doesn't make sense to me either,'' Maddon said. "It would have made sense if he had thrown him out for hitting the batter, but he didn't. He was not thrown out for hitting the batter, he was thrown out for something that happened after. Basically he was thrown out for defending himself, which I don't agree with either.''
Also, the discipline is staggered so as not to make it too hard to field a team. Plus all suspensions can be delayed if the players opt to appeal. Here is when they were supposed to start, though all are talkign about appeals.
Tonight: Shields and Gomes, plus Crisp and Lester
June 11: Crawford
June 13: Jackson
June 14: Casey
June 17: Iwamura
By staggering them that way, each team looks to only missing one position player at a time and one pitcher. In other words, Shields suspension will force him to miss one start, and then Jackson's suspension starts when Shields' is over.
Overall, Maddon said, "I want it to be very clear I defend everything our guys did.''

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