Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Training Performances Do Matter, After All

Just ask Cliff Lee, whose Spring Training chin music will suspend him for the first five games of the regular season:

NEW YORK -- Seattle pitcher Cliff Lee was suspended Wednesday for the first five games of the regular season for throwing over the head of a hitter, possibly delaying his highly anticipated debut with the Mariners.

Lee also was fined by Major League Baseball vice president of discipline Bob Watson.

The former AL Cy Young winner was ejected from Monday's exhibition game against Arizona after throwing inside to Chris Snyder, then zipping a fastball over his helmet. [...]

Suspensions that result from incidents in spring training have occurred in the past, although they are rare. In 2008, three players were suspended after the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay brawled.

"Yeah, a little bit surprised," Zduriencik said. "In the end I don't think we have a whole lot of comment about it. ... There is an appeal process and an opportunity for Cliff to state his case. He will do that and we'll see what happens."

The trouble between Lee and Snyder may've started in the first inning when they collided as the pitcher was backing up a play at home plate. In the third inning, Lee was tossed after his two pitches to Snyder.

Snyder walked toward the mound and the dugouts and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown. Lee denied he was trying to retaliate.

Having Lee miss a regular season start, and Opening Day, is pretty ridiculous just for a couple of inside pitches in a meaningless game. I thought Spring Training was supposed to be fun.