Turns out Yermín Mercedes won't be the only person punished in the aftermath of this season's biggest unwritten rules controversy.
Minnesota Twins reliever Tyler Duffey was suspended three games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing behind the White Sox rookie in Tuesday's game, the league announced Thursday. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was also suspended one game and fined for the pitch.
Duffey is appealing the discipline, so he won't serve the suspension now, but Baldelli will miss the second game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.
Fallout from Yermín Mercedes' HR continues
The fateful pitch came a day after Mercedes drew the Twins' ire, and more notably his own manager's ire, for hitting a home run off Twins catcher Willians Astudillo in a 3-0 count while the White Sox led 15-4.
The matter turned into a full-blown controversy the following day, when White Sox manager Tony La Russa spent an entire news conference criticizing Mercedes for supposedly disrespecting the Twins, the game of baseball and his own authority by ignoring a take sign.
La Russa said Mercedes would be punished in-house for the transgression and noted he had apologized to the Twins, but that apology apparently wasn't accepted.
Duffey threw a 93-mph fastball behind Mercedes in the seventh inning of the teams' next game, resulting in an ejection for both himself and Baldelli, who argued with the umpires.
Baldelli denied that Duffey was trying to hit Mercedes after the game, while La Russa said he was fine with how the Twins handled the situation.
It's not often you see a manager so publicly critical of his own player as La Russa has been of Mercedes, and the saga has turned into another referendum on the White Sox's much-criticized decision to hire a 76-year-old unwritten rules stickler to coach one of the most exciting and diverse rosters in baseball.
While La Russa has held firm on his position, some White Sox players — including star shortstop Tim Anderson and starting pitcher Lance Lynn — have indicated their support for the teammate. Meanwhile, players outside the organization have been much more aggressive in siding with Mercedes.
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