Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly, who was suspended for eight games in late July after inciting a benches-clearing incident with the Houston Astros, won his appeal and had his suspension reduced to five games on Wednesday, the team announced.
Kelly, 32, exchanged words and gestures with the Astros after he threw high, inside fastballs at both Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Kelly then made a vulgar remark to Correa after striking him out, which led to the benches clearing. No punches were thrown, but Major League Baseball suspended Kelly as well as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who sat out a game.
As our own Katherine Acquavella noted in July, Kelly's acts went against a edict from commissioner Rob Manfred that warned pitchers to not throw at the Astros in retaliation for Houston's sign-stealing scandal. The Astros players, if you'll recall, were granted immunity in exchange for information that led to both general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch being suspended for the season. The Astros subsequently fired both individuals.
"Retaliation in-game by throwing at a batter intentionally will not be tolerated," Manfred said. "Whether it's Houston or anybody else, it's dangerous, and it is not helpful to the current situation."
Successful appeal aside, Kelly won't be appearing in a game anytime soon. He was placed on the injured list on Monday with shoulder soreness. He had not allowed a run in seven appearances this season, though he had walked as many batters as he had struck out (five).
It's worth noting that Kelly was not a member of the 2017 Dodgers team that lost to the Astros in the World Series. Rather, he was with the Boston Red Sox through the 2018 season. The Red Sox were also punished this offseason for their own technological misconduct.