Minnesota Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey has been suspended for three games after he intentionally threw a pitch at Chicago White Sox slugger Yermín Mercedes during a game Tuesday night.
Duffey also received an undisclosed fine in connection to the incident, according to Major League Baseball. He has elected to appeal the suspension, so he will be eligible to pitch Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was also suspended for one game, according to the league. He will serve his suspension during the second game of a Thursday doubleheader, the league said.
The incident occurred in response to an ongoing saga involving the White Sox and Twins that began on Monday night at Target Field. During that game, which the White Sox won in blowout fashion, infielder Willians Astuilldo was brought in to pitch in the closing innings, and Mercedes hit a 3-0 pitch from the infielder into the stands for a home run.
After the game, White Sox manager Tony La Russa criticized his player for ignoring a take sign on the play, and apologized to the Twins on Mercedes’ behalf.
“It was a big mistake,” he said. “I was upset because that’ snot the time to swing 3-and-0. The Twins knew I was upset. With that kind of lead, it’s about sportsmanship, respect for your opponent and respect for the game.”
Mercedes said that he did not regret the play, saying that he is on the field to have fun.
“I’m going to play like that. I’m Yermín,” he said. “I can’t be another person, because if I change it, everything is going to change. We’re just having fun. It’s baseball.”
The situation sparked intense reaction from around the baseball world, with many pundits and fans criticizing La Russa’s comments and defending Mercedes. The slugger’s teammates seemed to side with him on social media, with shortstop Tim Anderson making several supportive comments on a variety of platforms.
During Tuesday’s game, Mercedes came to the plate in the seventh inning, and Duffey threw a pitch that sailed behind him, causing a commotion on the field and in both dugouts. After a quick conference, the umpires decided to eject Duffey from the game, and Baldelli was ejected as well, with a warning issued to both benches.
After the game, La Russa said he “didn’t have a problem” with how the Twins handled the situation.