Nick Castellanos suspended two games after Reds-Cardinals bench-clearing scuffle

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Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos received a two-game suspension and an unspecified fine for screaming at Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford at home plate and inciting a scuffle during Saturday’s game.

Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations, made the announcement on Monday — marking his first disciplinary ruling since taking over the position.

Castellanos, who’s appealing the suspension, was cited for his “aggressive actions” toward Woodford and for “instigating a benches-clearing incident” during the fourth inning. According to MLB’s rules, “Fighting and instigating fights are strictly prohibited. Players must not make physical contact with others for any reason unless it occurs in normal and permissible game action. Violations of these rules will result in severe discipline.”

The incident ensued after a wild pitch sent Castellanos sprinting home from third and he scored on a headfirst slide that put the Reds up 7-2 over St. Louis. Castellanos collided with Woodford, and as he got up, appeared to look down at Woodford and yell while flexing. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who made the throw to Woodford, then charged at Castellanos while yelling. Castellanos was held back by the umpire and his teammates. 

Crew chief Jim Reynolds said Castellanos was ejected because after sliding into home, he “re-engaged the pitcher in unnecessary fashion.” Additionally, the on-field scuffle, in which players got in each other’s faces and pushed each other, sparked concern over the league’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

Castellanos’ suspension was initially scheduled to begin Monday night, when the Reds host the Pittsburgh Pirates, but his appeal means the discipline will remain dormant until the appeal process is complete. 

Five other players were issued undisclosed fines for their involvement: Molina, Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado and pitcher Jordan Hicks, along with Reds infielder Eugenio Suárez and outfielder Jesse Winker, according to MLB.com.

Following the Saturday scuffle, Castellanos said that his actions were unintentional and fueled by genuine emotion. Castellanos had reached base after taking a fastball from Woodford to the ribs. Woodford stated that hit by pitch wasn’t intentional.

“I’m not out here to disrespect nobody or whatever, but I want to win,” Castellanos said at the time. 

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