Pirates' Keone Kela's Suspension Reportedly Due to Altercation with Staffer

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIIJuly 24, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12:  Keone Kela #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

More information is emerging about the two-game suspension of Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Keone Kela.

On Monday, the team announced the suspension was for an unspecified violation of his Uniform Player's Contract. Tuesday night, Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown filled in the blanks by disclosing that Kela was disciplined for "an altercation" with Pittsburgh's director of cultural initiatives, Hector Morales.  

No further information has been made available about the altercation.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, "The UPC (see it here) allows clubs to 'suspend the Player without salary for a period not exceeding thirty days' upon a 'violation by the Player of any regulation or other provision of this contract.' Written notice must be given to the player and the MLB Players Association."

Kela is expected to return from his suspension on Wednesday for the Pirates' game against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

This season, the 26-year-old has tossed 11.2 innings and registered a 4.63 ERA. He has not been able to piece together a full season due to a shoulder injury that placed him on the 60-day injured list. 

Kela hasn't pitched since May 4. 

While Pirates manager Clint Hurdle did not directly address Kela's suspension, he did admit that "it will be good to have him back in the bullpen," according to TribLive.com's Jerry Dipaola

"Obviously, we can use the help," he added.

The Pirates' have the ninth-highest bullpen ERA in MLB at 4.91 and rank 22nd in the league with 0.6 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs

Kela arrived in Pittsburgh last season through a trade with the Texas Rangers, where he spent the first three full seasons of his major league career. 

Overall, Kela has a 20-11 record paired with a 3.48 ERA, 241 strikeouts, 27 saves and 1.14 WHIP across 196.2 innings pitched.

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