Billy Eppler walked into Buck Showalter’s office about 45 minutes before the first pitch Monday night to tell him he had been suspended for the game.
The Mets manager at first thought his general manager was joking, but then alerted his players and coaches to the change in plans with little time to spare.
“I don’t know if, from a competitive standpoint, if the timing was right for the New York Mets,” Showalter said Tuesday at Citi Field.
The Mets then lost to the Braves 5-2.
Showalter served his one-game suspension and received an undisclosed fine for Yoan Lopez who threw to Kyle Schwarber on Sunday night after Francisco Lindor was beaten an inning earlier. Lopez did not hit Schwarber, but threw two inside pitches that MLB deemed “intentional.”
Asked why he was suspended, Showalter declined to elaborate.
“I don’t think they want me to broadcast this,” he said. “Obviously I phoned. I tried to see what my options were. … I was told that was my call, the phone call.
The Mets were hit by an MLB record 21 shots in 24 games. None of their opponents were disciplined for those throws, although the Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado and Genesis Cabrera were suspended for their roles in the bench clearance saga last week after JD Davis was hit and Lopez threw in Arenado. .
“It’s funny, it’s us who got hit and it’s us who get punished,” Showalter said with a laugh. “It’s a bit strange. I have personal thoughts, there’s probably no point broadcasting them.
Lopez was also fined and suspended for three games, which he will have to serve each time he is recalled to the major leagues. The right-hander was opted for Triple-A Syracuse on Monday before the discipline was awarded. But Showalter admitted that Lopez’s pending suspension “could be” a barrier to his recall.
“What do you call someone who can’t throw? Showalter said.
Lopez had previously been fined for throwing inside at Arenado, although Lindor and Eduardo Escobar teamed up to pay that fine for him.