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Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to five games

Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly exchanges words with Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa during a game on July 28.
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly’s eight-game suspension for throwing at Houston Astros batters was reduced to five games Wednesday after his appeal, the team announced Wednesday.

The players union said even the shortened sentence was “unfair,” amounting to the equivalent of 14 games over the usual 162-game season. Major League Baseball has said discipline will be severe in incidents that result in players leaving the bench, given distancing protocols adopted to lessen the risk of a player contracting the novel coronavirus.

“While we understand the concerns raised by the league with respect to a bench-clearing incident during this challenging season, we’re extremely disappointed by the decision,” said a union official not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “It was an unfair result for Joe Kelly given the cases presented.”

The official declined to say what cases it regarded as comparable and presented in Kelly’s defense.

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Kelly was suspended after throwing a 3-0 fastball behind Alex Bregman’s head in the first game of a two-game series against the Astros on July 28. He threw a curveball near Carlos Correa’s head later in the inning that Correa believed was intentional.

Correa glared at Kelly and the two exchanged words before benches cleared, adding another episode in the feud between the teams after the Astros’ cheating during their 2017 championship season was discovered over the offseason.

MLB decided on an eight-game ban, equivalent to 22 games in a 162-game season, citing Kelly’s previous suspension for intentionally throwing at a hitter in 2018. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was given a one-game suspension and served it the next day.

Kelly immediately appealed his ban and pitched in five more games before he was placed on the injured list Monday. The Dodgers said he is dealing with shoulder inflammation. Kelly will serve the suspension upon activation from the injured list.

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Mookie Betts won an MVP Award as the Red Sox’s everyday leadoff hitter. Yet, the Dodgers have him batting second even as his teammates struggle at the plate.

The Dodgers (11-7) will move forward Wednesday looking to topple the San Diego Padres (11-7) after dropping the first two games of their four-game set. Tony Gonsolin was recalled from the club’s alternate training site at USC to make the start.

Corey Seager (back) isn’t in the lineup for the fourth straight game, but Roberts said he will be a “full participant” in pregame baseball activities for the first time since suffering his injury Friday.

Dodgers’ starting lineup for Wednesday’s game:

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1. Joc Pederson — Left field

Dodgers first baseman Joc Pederson.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

2. Mookie Betts — Right field

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

3. Cody Bellinger — Designated hitter

Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

4. Justin Turner — Third base

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)
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5. Max Muncy — Second base

Dodgers infielder Max Muncy
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

6. AJ Pollock — Center field

Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

7. Chris Taylor — Shortstop

Dodgers utility player Chris Taylor.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

8. Edwin Ríos— First base

Dodgers infielder Edwin Rios.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)
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9. Will Smith — Catcher

Dodgers catcher Will Smith.
(Kent Nishimura; Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

Tony Gonsolin — Starting pitcher

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)


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