Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Urena has been suspended six games and fined an undisclosed amount of money for hitting Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. with the first pitch of Wednesday's game, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Urena hit Acuna, who had led off the previous three games against the Fish with a home run, with a 97 mph fastball to start the game, leading to both benches clearing:
Urena was ejected for his actions, and Acuna ultimately left the game after the first inning due to a left elbow injury. The CT scan came back normal, and the rookie was back in the lineup Thursday.
Urena discussed the incident afterward:
"I try to come out to the game to get deep into a game," Urena said, per Mark Bowman of MLB.com. "The first pitch you hit somebody. [The umpires] knew that was a mistake and they let me warm up. But those people, they got crazy and they started to attack me, and I don't know what they were looking for. I just backed up and tried to stick to my game plan."
Acuna entered the game having eight round-trippers in his last eight appearances, including a dinger in a franchise-record-tying five consecutive games. And while he left Wednesday's game without hitting a homer, the Braves later made it known that his streak was still officially active.
The beaning seems to stem from the fact that pitchers are having a hard time containing Acuna—and that reasoning didn't sit well with Atlanta.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said, via Bowman:
"To get hit like that when all he's doing is playing the game, he's not doing anything to show anybody up. He's just playing the game. He's a young, talented kid. That's a shame that happened. What happens if they hit him there and it breaks his elbow and he's done for the year? With what we're trying to accomplish here and where we're at, there's no reason for that. I mean, this is a game."
Acuna has made himself a legitimate National League Rookie of the Year candidate by hitting .288 with 19 home runs and 43 RBI in 69 games. That impressive start to his career has helped the Braves surprise the baseball world by holding a two-game lead in the NL East at 68-51.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are 22 games back in the division at 48-75. In the same breath, it's been a rough year for Urena, as the right-hander has gone 3-12 with a 4.74 ERA in 24 starts. He is tied for fifth in the majors with 11 hit batsmen.
Barring an appeal, Urena's suspension is expected to begin Friday. He could potentially miss one start as a result, or the Marlins could tweak the rotation to make it so his next outing only gets pushed back a couple of days.
Per MLB.com, Atlanta first base coach Eric Young also received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his actions in the benches-clearing altercation.