Pirates’ Kela: Telling truth led to 10-game suspension
Keone Kela told the truth in Cincinnati, and he is pretty sure that’s why he’s facing a 10-game suspension.
The Pittsburgh Pirates reliever drew the harshest punishment of anyone involved in Tuesday’s brawl with the Reds. Kela stirred long-simmering nastiness when he threw a pitch over Derek Dietrich’s head, an eighth-inning pitch he later admitted was sending a message.
MLB suspended six players and both managers for the ninth-inning brawl, but Kela received the most games.
“Of course, the truth will get you crucified,” Kela said Friday at PNC Park before the Pirates played the Mets. “But at the end of the day, I’m not going to sit here and bald-faced lie. I think the game sees enough of that.”
The Pirates played the game without manager Clint Hurdle, who was serving the first of his two-game suspension. Kela, Jose Osuna (five games) and Kyle Crick (three) appealed their suspensions.
“What I did was defend my team,” Osuna said through a translator. “What I saw was a guy bum-rushing my teammates. That’s just my nature and the way that I am. … I’m going to defend them and stand up for them. It’s not the first time, and it’s not going to be the last time.”
Reds manager David Bell was suspended six games. Amir Garrett, who charged the Pirates dugout, was suspended for eight. Jared Hughes and Yasiel Puig each were suspended three.
“(The commissioner’s office) is definitely of the opinion that we need to focus back on the game and not the fighting that goes on sometimes within the game,” Hurdle said, “and to take a firm stand (with) this becoming a deterrent to anything that could happen in the future. I understand that completely.”
Tom Prince replaced Hurdle as manager Friday.
Asked Tuesday about his head-high pitch, Kela told the Associated Press: “I just wanted to show them that we didn’t agree with the way things went down, and you have to pitch in. I was just doing my part.”
Kela still was unhappy with how Dietrich had stood and watched a home run in April.
“My comments probably from the postgame are what gave MLB more reason to give me what they gave me and set an example,” Kela said. “I don’t renege on anything that I said. My intentions weren’t to hit him.”
Kela said if he wanted to hit Dietrich, he could have. He doesn’t necessarily believe pitchers who insist a pitch “slipped.” Reds reliever Jared Hughes hit Starling Marte in the ninth inning Tuesday, a pitch Hughes later said slipped.
“We’re professionals,” Kela said. “I think that every guys knows where their pitch is going. You don’t make any pitch in the big leagues without intention because if you are, then you’re probably not going to last long in this game.”