Mets manager Buck Showalter found out that Major League Baseball fined and suspended him for Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves roughly 40 minutes before first pitch.
“I found out about 6:20ish,” Showalter said. “[General manager Billy Eppler] came in, I thought he was kidding.”
MLB deemed that reliever Yoan Lopez intentionally threw at Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber on Sunday night and that Showalter was the mastermind behind it. Lopez, who was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse, was suspended for three games and fined, as well.
“It’s tough to judge intent,” Showalter began, rather diplomatically. “I don’t know what’s being said to him from behind the scenes by some other group… We’ve moved on.”
But then he expanded on it.
The Mets have been hit an MLB-leading 21 times this season and tensions finally boiled over last week during Wednesday’s series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals when Lopez threw up and in at Nolan Arenado, sparking a benches-clearing scuffle. The New York reliever was also fined for that instance, too.
The thing is that Lopez never actually hit Arenado or Scwharber — which were the two incidents that MLB saw to warrant punishment.
“It’s funny, we’re the guys getting hit but we’re the ones getting punished,” Showalter continued. “It’s kind of strange. Believe me, I have some personal, private thoughts about it but it won’t do anybody any good to hear it.”
Lopez won’t be able to serve his suspension until he gets recalled to the big club, which didn’t happen on Tuesday after the Mets opted to bring up Adonis Medina after Trevor May was sent to the IL.
Meanwhile, Showalter and the Mets are stuck with trying to police the overwhelming issue of hit batsmen themselves due to MLB’s inability (so far) to step in.
“The thing that get under my craw is that it’s not fair for the players,” Showalter said. “I can deal with it. Managers, coaches, we don’t really matter. We’re just trying to create an environment where you don’t have to walk in a locker room at 6:25 and tell them to go get ’em and go down and tell the coaching staff to change everything, competitively speaking. The timing wasn’t fair to the New York Mets.”
Bench coach Glenn Sherlock led a coaching staff by committee during the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Braves on Monday night.
““It is what it is, that’s baseball,” Sherlock said. “We were surprised, I have to tell you that.”