Major League Baseball on Saturday suspended Chicago manager Tony La Russa and pitcher Mike Wright, alleging that Wright had intentionally thrown at Ohtani during the ninth inning of the Angels’ 9-3 win, striking Ohtani in the calf.
La Russa said Thursday he doubted Wright threw at Ohtani on purpose.
“It wasn’t intentional,” the manager said, according to ESPN. “[Umpire crew chief Bill] Welke read it wrong.”
Two nights earlier, three Chicago batters – Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu – had been struck by Los Angeles pitchers. But La Russa claimed Chicago hadn’t retaliated.
Suspensions of managers are served immediately, so La Russa was absent from Chicago’s game against the Texas Rangers on Saturday to serve his one-game penalty, with bench coach Miguel Cairo running the team, ESPN reported.
Wright appealed his three-game suspension, which was issued by Michael Hill, MLB’s vice president for on-field operations. MLB special adviser John McHale Jr. will ultimately decide if the Wright must sit out for a while, ESPN reported.
The American League Central-leading White Sox managed only three hits in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Texas. The Rangers and the Angels are the bottom teams in the AL West, with Los Angeles 15 games behind the division-leading Houston Astros and Texas 32 games back.
Ohtani, the sensation from Japan who both pitches and fields, wasn’t injured Thursday and is scheduled to take the mound Sunday against the Oakland Athletics in Anaheim, California. His pitching record is 9-2 with a 3.36 earned-run average. He is 6-0 in home games this season.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.