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7 players from Royals, White Sox punished by MLB for brawl
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox each lost Saturday without playing a game.

Four members of the Royals and three from the White Sox were punished for their roles in a series-opening brawl and six of the players drew suspensions. Major League Baseball placed the blame for the fighting squarely on both teams.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was handed a seven-game suspension, fellow starter Edinson Volquez given five games and outfielder Lorenzo Cain and reliever Kelvin Herrera got two games apiece. White Sox pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija were suspended five games each, while catcher Tyler Flowers escaped suspension but joined the others in getting an undisclosed fine.

The Royals have not said whether they plan to appeal their punishments, which would begin with Sunday’s series finale because of a rainout Saturday. Sale and Samardzija plan to appeal.

“I think everybody had some elements of their behavior over the course of that incident on both sides that they wish they handled differently,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during a conference call Saturday. “Respect the fact that our players stood up and took responsibility for their actions and expressed remorse over those things they wish had been handled better.

“It is something that happens from time to time,” Hahn added. “It’s part of the game.”

It’s a costly part of the game, though. Along with the suspensions, Hahn said reliever Matt Albers fractured a finger on his throwing hand in the melee and will go on the disabled list.

Meanwhile, Herrera is already awaiting an appeal on a five-game suspension that was handed down after he threw a pitch behind Oakland third baseman Brett Lawrie during a series last weekend. Ventura was fined for hitting Lawrie with a 99 mph fastball during the same series.

“We understand that Major League Baseball has to do what they think is fair in situations like this,” Royals manager Ned Yost said in a team statement. “Now, we just have to wait for the appeals process to play out.”

Tensions between the Royals and White Sox had been building since the opening series of the season, when the teams combined to hit six batters. Two more were plunked early Thursday night when Ventura hit Jose Abreu in the fourth inning and Sale hit Mike Moustakas in the fifth.

The simmering anger finally boiled over in the seventh, when Ventura snagged a grounder from Chicago outfielder Adam Eaton and the two exchanged words before Eaton was thrown out at first. Eaton had to be restrained from Ventura, who was ejected from his second straight start.

“It was a messy situation,” Ventura said through a translator.

Players from both dugouts and bullpens then ran onto the field. Volquez whiffed throwing a haymaker, and several other players threw punches in a fight that lasted several minutes.

“There are real negative repercussions of this,” Hahn said.”

After he was thrown from the game, Sale went to the Royals clubhouse and was seen pounding on the door. While nothing more transpired, Hahn said he spoke to his star pitcher about it Friday.

“It was a private conversation,” Hahn said. “We certainly understand where Chris was coming from in terms of the emotion involved in the moment and what he was hoping to accomplish, and at the same time realizing that perhaps there was a better way to handle these things going forward.”

Five players ultimately were ejected from Thursday night’s game, which the Royals won in 13 innings. Among them was Cain, who has been hit by pitches four times this season. Moustakas and teammate Alex Gordon have been hit an AL-leading five times apiece, and the Royals have been hit 17 times as a team — tied with Texas for the league lead entering the day.

“This game’s emotional and it seems to follow them around,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who famously charged the mound and was pummeled by the Rangers’ Nolan Ryan during a game in 1993. “Everybody gets emotional and reacts to things and that’s what happened.”

The Royals are starting to earn a fighting reputation. Along with their two series with the White Sox and a tense three-game set in Oakland, Ventura got into a heated argument with Angels slugger Mike Trout during a series in Los Angeles.

While acknowledging that the Royals must do a better job of containing their emotions, Yost insisted that his club has rarely been the instigator in a string of testy situations.

“Hopefully it’s all behind us,” he said Thursday night, “and we can move forward.”

The teams played eight innings Friday night without incident, but the rest of the game was postponed due to rain with the score 2-2. It was supposed to resume Saturday, but more rain in Chicago means that it will now resume Sunday with the Royals batting in the top of the ninth.

John Danks is scheduled to start for the White Sox in the second game Sunday, while fellow left-hander Jason Vargas is expected to go for the Royals.

No makeup date was announced for Saturday’s game.