DETROIT — White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was disciplined by Major League Baseball for using a racially charged word during a benches-clearing fracas against the Royals and served a one-game suspension Friday, hours after MLB handed down penalties and fines for him and Sox manager Rick Renteria. Renteria also was suspended one game.
Royals right-hander Brad Keller was suspended for five games and fined for intentionally throwing at Anderson, although Keller is appealing. The discipline is for conduct after the benches cleared Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
With the score tied in the sixth inning, Anderson wasn’t expecting to be hit by Keller in retaliation for flipping his bat after hitting a 418-foot home run against him earlier in the game. But when he took a fastball on the buttocks, he tapped his chest and yelled, ‘‘We’re good,’’ to Keller. The reaction, however, was animated and the benches emptied. At some point, Anderson, who is black, called Keller, who is white, a ‘‘weak-ass [bleeping N-word]’’ within earshot of both teams.
Anderson declined to elaborate on what was said.
‘‘Just really upset with what’s happening,’’ he said before leaving to watch the Sox’ game Friday against the Tigers from the team hotel. ‘‘Keep moving, put it behind me. I’ll be ready [Saturday]. There are a lot of positive things going on. I got off to a great start, so I’m going to continue to work.’’
Bench coach Joe McEwing managed the Sox in the absence of Renteria, and Leury Garcia started at shortstop. Renteria was also at the ballpark hours before the game but returned to the team hotel.
Anderson declined to appeal his suspension and fine.
‘‘Nah, man, I think that’s too much,’’ he said. ‘‘Just take the one day and use it as an off day. Keep going and be ready for [Saturday]. Keep having fun and flush that.’’
Umpire Joe West, the crew chief during the game Wednesday, declined to give reasons for ejecting Anderson at the time. He gave a postgame statement saying bad language factored into his decision.
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, an African American who got into an on-field spat with Anderson in 2017, came to Anderson’s defense Thursday on Twitter for showing emotion and again Friday on his use of the N-word.
‘‘You can’t suspend someone for language,’’ Stroman tweeted. ‘‘That’s ridiculous. Also, what he said is normal slang trash talk in our culture.’’
Anderson, Keller, Renteria and Royals bench coach Dale Sveum were ejected from the game, but only Anderson was tossed for what he said.
‘‘We’re going to take it,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘They made their decision. We’ll abide by it and put it behind us.
‘‘They’ve looked over everything. I’m not going to make it a public debate about what I agree or don’t agree with. They did what they did. They deliberated on it and drew their conclusion, and we’ll just abide by it.’’
Renteria once again supported Anderson, not only for showing emotion and having fun but also for the person he is. Anderson is a married father of two who is active in the community.
‘‘Everybody around here knows who I am and knows what kind of person I am and knows what kind of player I am and knows what kind of energy I play with,’’ Anderson said.
‘‘I ain’t hurt; I’m not bothered by this. I’m in a good spirit; I’m in a good spot. I’m swinging the bat real well. Let’s talk about some of the positive things going on.’’
Anderson entered play Friday leading the American League with a .422 average, the third-highest mark by a Sox player after 18 games since at least 1913, according to STATS.
‘‘So I’m going to keep playing with my head on fire,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘I’ll be ready [Saturday], and it’s going to be the same energy, the same player. I’m not going to change for nobody.’’