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Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija suspended five games each for on-field brawl

Major League Baseball acted swiftly in meting out penalties for Thursday’s on-field brawl between the Royals and White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

White Sox starters Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija have been suspended five games apiece, the league announced Saturday. Both will appeal, general manager Rick Hahn said, and will make their next scheduled starts in Baltimore.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura received a seven-game suspension, and starter Edinson Volquez will miss five games. Lorenzo Cain and Kelvin Herrera were each slapped with two-game suspensions.

All six players, plus White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, received undisclosed fines, as well.

“I think everybody had some elements of their behavior over the course of that incident on both sides that they wish they had handled differently,” Hahn said. “I respect the fact that our players stood up and took responsibility for their actions and expressed remorse over those things.”

There are also some very immediate consequences for the Sox: Reliever Matt Albers suffered a compression fracture in a finger on his right hand during the brawl that will force him onto the 15-day disabled list.

Albers had appeared in four games this season and allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings. Through 15 games he’s been one of the team’s best relievers.

Hahn said the White Sox will make a roster move before Sunday’s series finale against the Royals.

“It’s something hopefully that won’t linger too long, but it will put him down 15 days,” Hahn said.

The fracas started in the seventh inning Thursday, when Adam Eaton hit a comebacker at Ventura on the mound. The two players exchanged words, then both benches cleared.

The tensions had cooled Friday, when the two teams played eight innings to a 2-2 tie. That game will be resumed before the start of Sunday’s finale. Saturday’s rainout will be made up at a later date.

While Hahn wished “the whole thing had not happened,” he said he respects and appreciates that his players defended each other and the “integrity of the game.”

He also said he has spoken twice to Sale about his ill-advised, hot-tempered trip to the Kansas City clubhouse after the melee.

Those conversations will remain private, but Hahn said he isn’t concerned about Sale’s character after the incident – the second in as many years that Sale has shown a temper. He got angry last season during a game against the Tigers, whom he believed to be stealing signs.

“Part of what makes these guys good is the competitive fire,” Hahn said. “Part of what makes a guy a front-end starter is that fight, that passion and the desire to excel between the lines.

“Certainly that’s part of their makeup, and sometimes that carries over outside of the lines. As they continue in their big-league careers and mature, they realize how to ideally keep that between the lines. But in terms of Chris’s makeup or character, anything along those lines, no, there’s absolutely no concern. He has a special makeup and that’s part of what makes him great.”

Depending on what happens during the appeal process, it’s possible White Sox rookie Carlos Rodon will make a spot start.

Rodon is stretched out after pitching two-plus innings against the Indians earlier this week, but Hahn said it’s too soon to pencil him in.

email: djust@suntimes.com
Twitter: DavidJustCST