Billy Eppler walked into Buck Showalter’s office about 45 minutes before first pitch Monday night to tell him he had been suspended for the game.
The Mets manager first thought his GM was kidding, but then he alerted his players and coaches of the change in plans with little time to spare.
“I don’t know if competitively speaking, if the timing was fair to the New York Mets,” Showalter said Tuesday at Citi Field.
The Mets went on to lose to the Braves 5-2.
Showalter served his one-game suspension and received an undisclosed fine for Yoan Lopez throwing inside to Kyle Schwarber on Sunday night after Francisco Lindor had been plunked an inning earlier. Lopez did not hit Schwarber, but threw two pitches inside that MLB deemed “intentional.”
Asked about the reasoning for his suspension, Showalter declined to get into specifics.
“I don’t think they want me broadcasting that,” he said. “Obviously I made a call. Tried to see about what my options were. … I was told that was my appeal, the phone call.”
The Mets have been hit by an MLB-high 21 pitches through 24 games. None of their opponents have been disciplined for those pitches, though the Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado and Genesis Cabrera were suspended for their roles in the benches-clearing saga last week that came after JD Davis got hit and Lopez threw up-and-in to Arenado .
“It’s funny, we’re the guys that have been hit and we’re the ones getting punished,” Showalter said with a chuckle. “It’s kind of weird. I have some personal private thoughts, probably doesn’t do anybody any good to air it.”
Lopez was also fined and suspended for three games, which he will have to serve whenever he is recalled to the major leagues. The right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday before the discipline was handed out. But Showalter admitted that Lopez’s pending suspension “could be” a barrier to calling him up again.
“How do you call up somebody that can’t pitch?” Showalter said.
Lopez was previously fined for throwing inside to Arenado, though Lindor and Eduardo Escobar teamed up to pay that fine for him.