Suspension upheld for Rays' Iwamura, reduced for Red Sox's Crisp
Rays 2B Akinori Iwamura's appeal of his three-game suspension was denied by MLB, the Times has learned, and he will have to sit out starting Saturday. The Rays confirmed the news with an announcement at 3:15 p.m. The team also said that INF Ben Zobrist was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for 1B Carlos Pena to be activated from the DL.
The Red Sox, however, got some relief as OF Coco Crisp's suspension was reduced from seven games to five. Crisp will start serving on Saturday in Houston, meaning he -- conveniently -- will miss the three-game series between the teams at the Trop that starts Monday. Iwamura will miss the first game of the series.
Crisp, who started the June 5 brawl by charing the mound after being hit by a James Shields pitch, was given the longest suspension of the eight players disciplined, but now will serve less than James Shields (who got six games, but missed only one start) and the same as OF/DH Jonny Gomes.
With Zobrist sent down and Iwamura out, Willy Aybar is expected to play second base the next three games.
The Rays and Red Sox play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the Trop. The Rays say tickets are available for all three games, but advise fans to purchase in advance to avoid lines.
[AP Photo files]