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Friday March 19, 2010 4:53 pm

Lee’s loss won’t impact a thing




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Cliff LeeThe Seattle Mariners’ fans are going to have to wait an extra few days before they can meet their newest star in Cliff Lee. In case you hadn’t heard, Lee has been suspended for the first five games on the upcoming season for an incident that occurred last Monday in a Spring Training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. An errant pitch from Lee soared above D’Backs catcher Chris Snyder’s head, and a bench-clearing scuffle followed before the dust settled.

Lee was tossed from the game and claimed that he didn’t intend to throw at Snyder’s head, but instead the ball just got away from him. Regardless, MLB handed out a five game suspension that will prevent Lee from taking the ball for the M’s and showing off his Cy Young arm when they head into Oakland. His appeal might get one or two games removed from his sentence, but Lee is a starting pitcher. How much does that matter?

Lee is only going to play once every five days, so a five game suspension is essentially a one game suspension. To suspend a starting pitcher for five starts is a different story. Logically speaking, everybody knows Lee is going to go once every five days, so Seattle couldn’t argue against common sense. But MLB probably wouldn’t enjoy “changing the rules” for starting pitchers. Considering it’s the beginning of the season when this suspension takes effect, the Mariners will have several chances throughout the year with off days to utilize Lee and make it appear as if he never missed a game.

Nobody wants headhunting in baseball, but suspending a starting pitcher essentially one game isn’t going to send that message to him. Lee’s mistake might not have been intentional, but what does one game say to those in the future who do intend to throw at a batter? “If I make this look accidental, I might only miss one start,” and it’s bombs away. If MLB wanted to say they wouldn’t put up with the behavior, they should have hit Lee harder. But then again, Lee is a Cy Young winner and new face in Seattle. Suspending him longer than a week might have caused more problems for them in the long run.

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