Major League Baseball officials didn’t like what they saw from Sergio Romo or Francisco Lindor in the eighth inning of the Twins’ 3-1 victory over Cleveland on Friday night at Target Field. On Saturday, Romo received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for what MLB called “inappropriate actions.”
Romo could have appealed but will serve the suspension Saturday night for the second game of the Twins-Indians series, according to Twins’ president of baseball operations Derek Falvey. Lindor was not suspended but received a fine.
Falvey said he got a call on Saturday morning informing him of the decision.
“These situations, obviously, what presented last night, what happened on the field, we don’t want any of that, no one wants any of that,” Falvey said. “I think it was one of those situations where it had been kind of brewing to some degree over a couple of games (going back to the Twins’ series in Cleveland in August), and some chatter back and forth. I think sometimes what’s seen on television isn’t always the entire story, as to what’s said and chirping back and forth. It’s a highly competitive environment. We’ve talked about this before, without fans in the stands you hear a lot more than you would otherwise in a normal year. I think there’s just some things that ratchet up and last night it kind of just hit it’s head.”
Here’s the description of what happened and caused the benches, and bullpens, to clear.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli also was less than thrilled by the exchange between Romo and Lindor that started after Lindor hit a fly ball to left field to end the eighth inning. It was clear, as Falvey noted, that whatever was said dated to the Twins’ three-game series in Cleveland last month in which Romo exchanged words with the Cleveland dugout and got into a verbal altercation with Lindor and third baseman Jose Ramirez between innings.
“We’ll just move forward,” Falvey said. “We need him back on the mound, we need him focused on winning games for us, but I will say, I know that from his standpoint, what’s seen on television is what it is but there’s a lot of chatter that goes on behind the scenes. It’s just what happens on the field and, unfortunately, it led to that incident last night.”
Baldelli acknowledged that Romo wasn’t happy with MLB’s decision.
“I don’t want to speak for Sergio, but in general terms, I think he’s also frustrated with the situation as a whole and in a lot of ways believes that it takes two for any of these types of things to happen,” Baldelli said. “Sergio is not one, even if he’s not someone that is going to begin some sort of confrontational situation, I’m not saying he’s never started a confrontational situation, but I’m saying even if someone else starts it, he’s probably not going to be one that’s just going to let things slide and go by and not be mentioned by him. I don’t think he’s fully OK and comfortable with the direction of what just went on and the suspension. But I also think he doesn’t feel like there’s much he can do about it at this point. We know he can appeal. All it’s really going to probably do is pushing things off a little bit. He also just pitched (Friday). If there’s going to be a day where he’s just slightly more comfortable accepting it, it would be today.”
MLB likely suspended Romo based on wanting to cut down on the chance that there could be another incident on Saturday, given the league wants to avoid having benches clear and players get close during a pandemic. In addition to his earlier incident with Cleveland, Romo also was the focus of anger from the Kansas City Royals after he closed out a mid-August game at Target Field.
“Is it totally surprising with the state of baseball and everything going on that there was a suspension of some kind? Not really. I don’t think so,” Baldelli said. “It’s obviously unfortunate, we don’t want to lose him. He’s a very important part of what we’re doing here and we need him. All the more reason to do everything we can, and for him to do everything he can, to just always remain as focused and calm as possible.”
Said Falvey: “We support Serg, he’s a fiery guy. He’s always competitive, he goes out there, he lets his emotions fly and sometimes that’s not as liked by others and sometimes there’s some jawing back and forth. That’s part of professional sports. It turned into something that was a little bit too much last night and the league had to hand down the discipline.”