May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels began serving a five-game Major League Baseball suspension yesterday for intentionally hitting Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch.
Hamels, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, drilled Harper in the back with a 93 mile per hour (150 kph) fastball in the first inning of the Phillies’ 9-3 victory two days ago in Washington. The 28-year-old pitcher said after the game that he deliberately threw at the 19-year-old outfielder -- the top pick of the 2010 draft -- who’s in his second full week in the major leagues since being called up to the Nationals.
“He could have been a little bit more discreet about it, or a little less honest,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before yesterday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Mets.
The ban will probably move Hamels’s next start back by one day. He was scheduled to pitch May 12 against the San Diego Padres and will probably instead start the following day. Roy Halladay, who started last night’s game, will pitch in Hamels’s place Saturday on his usual four days of rest since Philadelphia is off on May 10.
“It’s kind of disappointing it even happened,” Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters yesterday. “That’s not what we’re about. We’re not about trying to injure people, if that’s what people are thinking out there.”
Two innings after Hamels hit Harper, Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann hit Hamels in the leg with a first-pitch 93 mph fastball. After the game Zimmermann said he didn’t intentionally hit the Phillies pitcher. He wasn’t suspended or fined.
Hamels said the pitches he and Zimmermann threw were “old-school” baseball.
“I think they understood the message and they threw it right back,” he said.”
The Nationals lead the National League East with an 18-10 record, while the Phillies, who have won the division title the past five years, are in last place at 14-16. The teams next meet in a three-game series May 21-23 in Philadelphia.
“Once they hit Hamels, that’s baseball and it’s back on even ground,” Manuel said. “It’s kind of like they got even. That’s kind of what baseball is about.”
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