It did not take long for MLB to have its first benches-clearing incident of the new season. Over the weekend, the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals got into it after Nick Castellanos was hit by a pitch, had some words with Yadier Molina, then later stood over pitcher Jake Woodford after scoring on a wild pitch. Molina took exception and a scrum ensued.
Here's the video of Saturday's brawl. Castellanos was the only player ejected from the game.
"That guy could have punched me in the face. I'd still ask him for a signed jersey," Castellanos said of Molina, according to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I've got nothing but respect for that cat, bro."
On Monday, MLB announced Castellanos has been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for his "aggressive actions" in Saturday's game. Castellanos is appealing the suspension and is eligible to play until the appeal is heard. Molina, Nolan Arenado, Jordan Hicks, Eugenio Suarez, and Jesse Winker were all fined but not suspended for their actions.
The collectively bargained health and safety protocols explicitly prohibit fighting and instigating fights, and says violators will be "severely disciplined." I wouldn't say a two-game suspension and a fine qualifies as being "severely disciplined," though it is a punishment.
"After sliding into home, he re-engaged the pitcher in unnecessary fashion and that's why he was ejected," crew chief Jim Reynolds explained, according to Nightengale.
Castellanos had a monster weekend against the Cardinals, going 6 for 11 (.545) with a double, a triple, and two home runs in the three-game series. He is currently the league leader in runs (six), homers (two), and slugging percentage (1.364).