During a game between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants on Memorial Day – Monday May 29 – Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland hit Nationals player Bryce Harper in the hip. The plunking resulted in Harper not only charging the mound; but he also threw his batting helmet in Strickland’s direction.
By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA – Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper takes batting practice before NLDS Game 5., CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52496576
As a result both benches cleared and a melee ensued in which both players landed at least one blow.
Major League Baseball originally handed down a four game suspension to Harper and a six game suspension to Strickland. The players were also assessed a fine of an undisclosed amount. Both players have appealed the ruling.
After reviewing the case on Wednesday, MLB reduced Harper’s suspension from four games to three games. He will begin serving the suspension in Wednesday night’s game against the Giants. Harper will be eligible to return to the field on June 4 in the final game against the Oakland A’s.
Harper claims that Strickland hit him on purpose, Strickland denies the allegation. Monday’s game was the first time the two have faced each other since 2014 in the National League Division game where Harper hit two home runs off of Strickland.
Speaking on the incident Harper said, “it’s just crazy that it even happened. After three years, to do that, I don’t know what was going through his mind or how upset he was the last couple years. If he did have a problem, he could’ve talked to me in [batting practice] about it and say, ‘I didn’t like the way you went about it.'”
Strickland has yet to learn the results of his appeal.
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