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Crisp gets seven-game suspension

Crisp handed seven-game suspension

BOSTON -- A day after Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp charged the mound following being hit by Rays right-hander James Shields, the inevitable discipline was handed out by Major League Baseball to various participants in the incident.

Of the eight suspensions handed out, three of them were to Red Sox players. All eight of those players also received fines.

Crisp got the heaviest penalty, a seven-game suspension that he immediately appealed. In fact, the switch-hitter led off for the Red Sox in Friday night's game against the Mariners.

"Like I said, I'm through talking about it," Crisp said. "It's over with; it happened [Thursday]. And that's it, basically."

According to the release issued by Major League Baseball, Crisp's penalty came because of "inappropriate actions and for charging the mound, fighting and inciting the bench-clearing incident."

Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester was given a five-game suspension for what MLB ruled was "intentionally throwing" at a Tampa Bay batter after a warning had been issued. Lester hit Carl Crawford in the fifth inning with a curveball, but it's unclear if that's the pitch he was disciplined for. Typically, when a pitcher is believed to have violated a warning, he is immediately ejected. Lester was not.

Unlike Crisp, Lester opted not to appeal.

The way Boston's schedule breaks, it was easy to see why Lester took the punishment. Because the Red Sox have an off-day on Monday, they can finagle the rotation so that Bartolo Colon can take Lester's regular turn Wednesday on the standard four days' rest. Lester will merely pitch on Thursday night against the Orioles instead of Wednesday.

Rays-Red Sox suspensions
Number of games the following players will be suspended as a result of Thursday's fracas in the Rays-Red Sox game, pending possible appeals.
7 games
Coco Crisp, Red Sox
6 games
James Shields, Rays
5 games
Jonny Gomes, Rays
Edwin Jackson, Rays
Jon Lester, Red Sox
4 games
Carl Crawford, Rays
3 games
Akinori Iwamura, Rays
Sean Casey, Red Sox

Still, Red Sox manager Terry Francona was taken aback by Lester's punishment.

"The Lester one, I was shocked," Francona said. "[I] wasn't expecting that. You know what, I probably have a biased viewpoint because I work for the Red Sox. I probably wasn't in agreement with a lot of what happened, but I don't get the final say."

The third Boston player to get punished was first baseman Sean Casey, who received a three-game suspension. Casey's suspension isn't scheduled to start until June 14, so he hasn't decided yet if he will appeal. The reason for his discipline, according to MLB, was "fighting."

"I don't know, the whole thing is pending," Casey said. "So until I talk to the union and find out what's going on, I really don't know."

Shields, who hit Crisp on the right leg, received a six-game suspension. Designated hitter Johnny Gomes, one of the biggest aggressors during the fracas, got a five-game punishment. Crawford, whom Crisp accused of pulling his hair, got a four-game suspension. Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura received three games for fighting.

The Red Sox and Rays will next play on June 30 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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