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Jonathan Sanchez banned six games, fined for hitting Allen Craig

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Jonathan Sanchez
Jonathan Sanchez on Friday, being notified of his dismissal. (USATSI)

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Pirates starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez has been fined and suspended for six games for hitting Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig with a pitch on Friday, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After allowing two homers and a single to start the game in St. Louis, Sanchez hit Craig in the shoulder with a fastball and was promptly ejected by home-plate umpire Tim Timmons, who deemed Sanchez went head hunting.

''You got two home runs, and then you got a line drive single up the middle,'' Timmons said to the Associated Press. ''Then the very first pitch [to Craig] is up around the shoulder and head area. In that area, I deemed that intentional, and he's done. Very dangerous.''

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected in the aftermath for contesting the ejection.

''Timmons thought he was throwing at his head, and we disagreed,'' Hurdle said to the AP. ''You guys are going to have to figure out your own thoughts and speculate. I'm sure you already have. My comments will be made to the people that got an ear that need to hear."

Sanchez, a 30-year-old left-hander, is 0-3 with a 12.71 ERA and 2.56 WHIP in 11 1/3 innings this year. Last season, he was 1-9 with an 8.07 ERA and 2.09 WHIP, so he's essentially pitching himself out of the majors, anyway. And this could be the final straw.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano has made three minor-league rehab starts, and his last one -- a five-inning outing in Triple-A, where he allowed four hits and one run while striking out eight -- showed he isn't far away. He's expected to make two more rehab starts before joining the Pirates, but it's possible Sanchez gets one more start -- he's appealing the suspension -- before giving way to Liriano.

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