Not all hit-by-pitch incidents in the MLB are intentional. In fact, very few of them are intentional.
But since no one in the MLB front offices has the gift to read minds, baseball officials were wrong to suspend Detroit Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello six games for hitting Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. Porcello will also be fined for an undisclosed amount for what the MLB rules was intentionally throwing at Zobrist.
There are likely many intentional HBPs that have been waived by MLB. Granted, Porcello had incentive in this case when Miguel Cabrera verbally objected on Friday to a pitch from Fernando Rodney near Cabrera’s head.
Both benches were warned after Porcello’s pitch hit Zobrist. Porcello says it just got away from him Perhaps that sounds suspicious, but it does happen. MLB is simply reacting to its own conclusions. Porcello hasn’t exactly had the best of seasons and it shouldn’t be a shock that he doesn’t have command of all of his pitches.
“I don’t know any specifics besides the fact that I’m going to appeal it,” Porcello told USA Today Sports. “I really don’t have any feelings on it. Like I said,we’re going to appeal it and that’s it.”
Porcello can keep pitching during the appeal process, but chances are his appeal will be denied.
What’s irritating in an incident like this is that Rodney, who started it to begin with, gets off Scot-free while Porcello pays the price. Either both players should get suspended or neither.