SAN FRANCISCO — Major League Baseball suspended Bryce Harper four games and fined him an undisclosed amount for his actions in the fight that marred Monday afternoon’s 3-0 win over the Giants. Reliever Hunter Strickland, who hit him with a pitch to set off the brawl, will be suspended for six games.
Both players will appeal the decision, meaning both will remain active Tuesday night.
“You never know what Major League Baseball is going to do, or the [MLB] Players Association, or things like that,” Harper said. “It’s always in their hands, so there’s nothing the players can do about what’s fair, what’s not fair … just going to appeal that four games and see what happens.”
The four games given to Harper, assuming they stand on appeal, represent a moderate punishment relative to those doled out for similar fighting incidents. The longest suspension given for fighting is 10 games. Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor received an eight-game suspension after he landed a punch against Blue Jays’ slugger Jose Bautista last season. In other words, MLB did not come down particularly harshly on Harper, though it did not take it easy, either.
The 24-year-old was in good spirits Tuesday afternoon, noticeably calm, and downplayed the punishment, still consumed by disbelief.
“I was sitting there talking to my parents this morning at breakfast. It’s just crazy that it even happened yesterday. After three years, to do that, I don’t know what was going through his mind or how upset he was the last couple years,” Harper said. “If he did have a problem, he could’ve talked to me in BP about it and say: ‘I didn’t like the way you went about it.’ But that’s not human nature, I guess. I don’t know, it’s just part of the game, I…