Major League Baseball dropped another hammer on the Houston Astros.
Alex Cintron, the Astros hitting coach was suspended 20 games for his role in Sunday’s benches-clearing brawl, MLB announced Tuesday. Cintron was seen taunting and challenging Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano, which led to Laureano charing the Astros dugout along the first-base line. Laureano was suspended six games and received an undisclosed fine for his role in the incident.
Laureano twice was hit by pitches three times in the series, including twice Sunday, and in his anger tried to demonstrate the proper way to throw a breaking ball to Astros pitcher Humberto Castellanos, who had hit him the second time. Laureano has elected to appeal his suspension.
MLB warned teams against benches-clearing brawls at the start of the season because it is not consistent with social distancing and trying to navigate a season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laureano told ESPN that Cintron “said in Spanish something you don’t say about my mother,” which prompted him to rush the Athletics dugout. Cintron denied the accusation.
“I accept MLB’s suspension and will learn from this,” Cintron said in a statement. “Although I never referenced Ramon’s mother, my actions were inappropriate. I apologize for my part in Sunday’s unfortunate incident. As coaches, we are held to a higher standard and should be an example to the players. Hopefully, other coaches will learn from my mistake so that this never happens again in the future.”
Cintron has been an Astros assistant coach since 2017, which means he survived the trash-can-banging sign-stealing scandal that rocked baseball and led to the firings of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, a $5 million fine for the organization and the forfeiture of draft picks.
Cintron had a nine-year career as a MLB player.
Cintron’s 20-game suspension is believed to be the longest in MLB history for a coach – and it’s even more eye-popping when considering it amounts to one-third of the regular-season. It is the equivalent of a 54-game suspension in a traditional 162-game season,
“I regret charging that guy,” Laureano said of Cintron on Monday. “I’m a man, I’m a freaking man. Whatever happens, happens. I’ll take it. I couldn’t keep my cool and I should have. And I wasted my time with that guy.”