Dodgers’ Joe Kelly and Dave Roberts suspended by MLB after Astros incidents

Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly, left, exchanges words with Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa on Tuesday.
Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly, left, exchanges words with Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa on Tuesday.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Major League Baseball did not waste any time in issuing punishment for Joe Kelly’s actions Tuesday night against the Houston Astros. And the discipline wasn’t light.

The league announced Kelly was given an eight-game suspension — the equivalent of 22 games in a standard 162-game season — a couple of hours before the clubs took the field to conclude their two-game set at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday.

Kelly chose to appeal the suspension and will be available out of the bullpen Wednesday.


Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was also suspended one game. He will serve the sentence Wednesday. Bench coach Bob Geren will serve as the Dodgers’ manager.

Joe Kelly released the months of pent-up rage the Dodgers and their fans have been feeling ever since MLB found the Houston Astros cheated in 2017.

Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined. He was the only member of the Astros disciplined.

The league outlined Kelly was suspended for throwing a pitch “in the area of the head of Alex Bregman and later taunted Carlos Correa, which led to the benches clearing.”

“I threw my curveball,” Kelly said of the pitch that angered Correa. “I guess they didn’t take too kind to it. A curveball. It is what it is.”

MLB noted Kelly “has previously been suspended in his career for intentional throwing,” seemingly prompting the league to hand a harsher penalty than usual.

Kelly served a six-game suspension as a member of the Boston Red Sox in 2018 when he plunked Tyler Austin, then with the New York Yankees, as retaliation for Austin spiking a teammate. Austin charged the mound and a brawl ensued. Kelly spent the suspension watching games from different locations in the stands at Fenway Park and Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Dustin May, a rookie, will start for the Dodgers. Cristian Javier, another rookie, will make his first major-league start for the Astros.

Before his suspension was announced, Roberts said he didn’t expect the Astros to retaliate. If they did, he said, he was sure the umpires would “address it and act accordingly.” The umpires, however, didn’t issue any discipline Tuesday.

Roberts said he planned on speaking to his team about leaving the bench at a time when the league is actively discouraging close contact between players to reduce the chances of the coronavirus spreading.

“I think that Major League Baseball is really serious about this, as well they should be,” Roberts said. “So I’ve got to reiterate how important it is for guys at any cost to stay on the bench.