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MLB suspends Astros’ coach for 20 games over brawl

Major League Baseball suspended Houston hitting coach Alex Cintron for 20 games Tuesday for his role in Sunday’s brawl between the Astros and Oakland Athletics, which ignited after he allegedly said something about Oakland center fielder Ramon Laureano’s mother. 

According to the USA Today report, Cintron will not appeal the suspension, believed to be one of the longest ever levied against a coach.

Laureano also received a six-game suspension, per the report.

The brawl occurred as MLB is trying to reinforce social distancing guidelines amid a several COVID-19 outbreaks around the league that have resulted in 29 postponements thus far.  

Both the Astros and Athletics benches clear after Laureano was hit by a pitch pic.twitter.com/vu9oJORSdk

After getting hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, Laureano charged the Houston bench following an exchange with Cintron that included alleged derogatory remarks about the outfielder’s mother. 

Laureano, a native of the Dominican Republic, did not translate what Cintron said in Spanish, other than to say it was ‘something you don’t say about my mother.’ 

Although Cintron appeared to start the fight, he never actually ended up exchanging blows with Laureano, and was later criticized on social media for not having a more active role in the brawl.  

Following a near-fight with the Los Angeles Dodgers in late July, Sunday’s brawl was Houston’s second incident of the season following the revelation of the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme in 2017 and 2018. 

A 2019 MLB investigation found that the Astros communicated opponents’ upcoming pitches to their own hitters with the help of a centerfield camera, which would record opposing catchers’ hand signals. That information was then relayed to the dugout, where Astros players would bang on a trash can to indicate the pitch their teammate in the batter’s box should expect to see. 

The Astros received a maximum $5 million fine, forfeited first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and manager AJ Hinch as well as general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended one year before swiftly being fired by club owner Jim Crane. 

Houston’s 2017 title was not vacated by MLB.   

Laureano, 26, has started all 17 of the A’s games this season, and he is hitting .263/.405/.491 with three homers and 10 RBIs. He has reached base at least once in all but two games.

Cintron, 41, has been on Houston’s coaching staff since 2017. He played parts of nine seasons in the majors from 2001-09 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, batting .275 with 33 homers and 222 RBIs in 680 games. 

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