MLB Hands Athletics' Laureano a Six-Game Suspension; Astros' Cintron Gets 20 Games

John Hickey

A’s center fielder Ramón Laureano has been handed a six-game suspension by Major League Baseball for his part in Sunday’s brawl between the A’s and the Houston Astros.

Houston batting coach Alex Citron was hammered with a 20-game suspension, believed to be the largest ever for a coach over an on-the-field incident.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale was the first to report the length of the suspensions. And there is no word if either Laureano or Cintron will appeal the suspensions.

If Laureano does appeal, he can keep playing while his case is heard. Without an appeal, he will miss six games starting Tuesday night in Anaheim.

Laureano was at first base in the seventh inning Sunday after having been hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and Cintron was seen and heard goading Laureano, who said Monday it was a comment about Laureano’s mother that led him to charge the Houston bench. At that point, both benches and bullpen got into in front of the Astros’ dugout.

At least initially there was no word of a suspension for A’s catcher Austin Allen, who tackled Astros’ catcher Martín Maldonado, the man behind the plate all five times when A’s hitters were hit by pitches in the three-game series. Robbie Grossman was hit twice on Friday night.

“I regret charging that guy (Cintron),” Laureano said to the A’s media Monday afternoon from Anaheim ahead of the opener of a three-game series against the Angels. “I’m a man, I’m a freaking man. Whatever happens, happens. I’ll take it. I couldn’t keep my cool and I should have.

“And I wasted my time with that guy.”

Earlier, in a conversation with ESPN, Laureano said that Cintron made a vile comment about Laureano’s mother. Being hit by a pitch three times Laureano could shake off. But not that.

Laureano told ESPN that Cintron “said in Spanish something you don’t say about my mother.”

While Laureano said he didn’t keep his cool “and I should have,” he said he appreciated the way the rest of the A’s rallied to his defense. He thanked Garneau for tackling him without hurting him.

Before the fracas was over, backup second baseman Franklin Barreto emerged from the pile with Maldonado’s catching mask.

“It meant a lot to me; that’s how close we are as a group,” Laureano said. “Not only the players, but the coaching staff and everybody. I felt the support and people reaching out to me was pretty cool.”

Laureano had taken first base in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch for the second consecutive played trip and the third time in the series.

After taking the base, however, he responded to verbal jousting from Cintron and charged the Houston dugout. The A’s, unwilling to have their center fielder go it alone, charged en masse from the home dugout for just the kind of collapse of social distancing that MLB and the players’ union had agreed should be strictly forbidden in the age of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

That health and safety concerns weren’t lost on Laureano.

“These are very had times when it comes to social distancing and during the pandemic,” he said. “Obviously I look like not a very smart guy. But when you’ve very emotional, especially when it’s about your mother, it’s always tough.”

For his part, Laureano said he didn’t think Houston pitchers were throwing at him, saying they were mostly young and inexperienced and may not have great control.

For Sunday starter Jesús Luzardo, the Astros’ instigation of the brawl and the five hit batters spell out how things must be in the Astros clubhouse.

“Clearly the frustration is building up on that side,” Luzardo said Sunday of the altercation, “so they just let it out.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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