Major League Baseball announced a seven-game suspension for Cincinnati Reds reliever Amir Garrett on Tuesday following a benches-clearing confrontation against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
According to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Garrett was also fined an undisclosed amount and will appeal the decision. Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, who leapt over the dugout railing to confront Garrett at the onset of the fracas, also received a fine but was not suspended.
Garrett is still eligible to play pending a decision on his appeal.
Reds slugger Nick Castellanos was suspended for two games earlier this season after standing over St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford and shouting obscenities after crossing home plate in mid-April. Castellanos appealed as well, but MLB upheld the decision.
Garrett explained he'd been frustrated with his performance before the Cubs game and finally felt he'd regained his rhythm with a strikeout of Chicago's Anthony Rizzo in the eighth inning of a game the Cubs led, 3-2.
The reliever, who has rarely been shy about showing his emotions on the mound, reacted by shouting and pounding his chest in Rizzo's direction. The Cubs felt disrespected and began shouting at Garrett from the dugout with Baez hopping the railing to get in Garrett's face. No player was ejected and no punches were thrown.
Garrett explained the incident to reporters afterward:
"I felt really good, throwing 97 [mph], slider up to 87, I felt my normal self, so when I struck Rizzo out, I let him know. I let him know 'I'm back. I'm good. I'm here.' That's basically all it was.
"...I turn around, got the ball and heard Baez chirping. So, I'm going to chirp back. It's fine. We weren't going to fight because that split second that we had that much time to get to each other, I can get to him if I wanted to and he can get to me. We weren't going to fight. We're going to exchange words, blah, blah, blah. Benches clear, hold me back, whatever.
"I had no intentions on fighting because, obviously if I'd wanted to, I would have gone and got him. It was a lot of pent-up aggression from my performance. It is what it is."
Garrett was previously suspended for eight games in 2019 after charging at the Pittsburgh Pirates dugout and starting a brawl with the Reds' National League Central rival.