Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano after brawl
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Following  Sunday’s benches-clearing brawl between the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros, Major League Baseball will reportedly suspend Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron and A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano for their roles in the scuffle

During a 2020 season with strict protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB is making its message clear. In a year where social distancing is crucial for the season to survive, brawls will not be tolerated this season.

Oakland Athletics OF Ramón Laureano suspended five games for bench-clearing brawl

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, MLB is suspending Cintron 20 games for instigating the fight between the two clubs. According to The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, Laureano will receive a six-game suspension.

The fracas between the AL West foes was sparked after days of frustrations between both clubs. When Astros reliever Humberto Castellanos drilled Laureano in the seventh inning on Sunday, the third time he was hit by a pitch in the series, Oakland’s star outfielder responded.

Laureano pointed towards Houston’s pitcher, then told him him how he was not throwing his slider the right way. Astros catcher Martín Maldonado guided Laureano towards first base to avoid a confrontation, all while the center fielder kept instructing Castellanos on how to snap his slider.

After some screaming from both dugouts, Laureano made his way to first base and the situation seemed to be over. Suddenly, Houston’s hitting coach Alex Cintron started yelling at Laureano and motioning him for a fight. According to the 26-year-old outfielder, his emotions got the best of him after Cintron made vile comments about Laureano’s mother. In response to his actions, Cintron received a 20-game suspension.

Laureano immediately charged towards the Astros’ dugout, where he was tackled to the ground by Astros catcher Dustin Garneau with both benches emptying around them. Multiple scuffles broke out, while Cintron stood behind his players and backed away from the brawl.

MLB warned teams before the season that there would be severe punishments for benches-clearing brawls and any actions that flagrantly violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols. As we’ve now seen, commissioner Rob Manfred is at least taking this matter of player discipline seriously.

Losing Laureano will be a massive blow for the Athletics. He boasts a .263/./405/.491 slash line this season with an .897 OPS in 17 games. The bigger absence will come in center field, with Laureano’s glove now unavailable. Though, the five-game suspension is much less than most anticipated.

Laureano will be able to appeal his suspension, allowing him to be in Oakland’s lineup until his appeal goes through. Cintron’s suspension will go into effect immediately.