Reds manager on Sunday’s incident vs. Pirates: ‘Sole intention’ was to defend team, hitter

Benches clear after Pirates starter Chris Archer throws behind the Reds’ Derek Dietrich in the fourth inning on Sunday, April 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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Benches clear after Pirates starter Chris Archer throws behind the Reds’ Derek Dietrich in the fourth inning on Sunday, April 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Manager serves one-game suspension in series opener vs. Marlins

Hours after being suspended for one game by Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing incident Sunday in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell had not decided where to watch Tuesday's game against the Miami Marlins. He only knew where he couldn't sit: the dugout, his office and the press box, for example.

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“Maybe upstairs in the suite area,” Bell said Tuesday.

Even though it’s just one game, it pained Bell to miss it. His team began a three-game series at Great American Ball Park with an eight-game losing streak. The Reds sought their first victory since Opening Day 12 days earlier.

Bell didn't appeal the suspension. Bench coach Freddie Benavides filled in for him as acting manager. Reds right fielder Yasiel Puig also accepted a two-game suspension for his role in the incident. Both were ejected in the fourth inning in a game the Reds lost 7-5.

“I’ll get it over with tonight,” Bell said, “and hopefully, it’s not any more of a distraction. … I certainly want to be out there. I’ll be with the team until game game time.”

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Pirates starter Chris Archer, whose pitch behind Reds batter Derek Dietrich started the incident, received a five-game suspension. Bell saw that as vindication of his belief that Archer should have been ejected.

“I think MLB did a good job of identifying the fact that Archer did intentionally throw at our player, did intentionally try to injure,” Bell said.

Archer threw at Dietrich because Dietrich paused at the plate to admire a two-run home run in the second inning. Bell raced out of the dugout to home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg after Archer’s first pitch to Dietrich in the fourth sailed behind his back.

“I had one intention,” Bell said. “That was to defend our team, to defend our hitter. I felt my only course of action was to get their pitcher ejected for intentionally trying to hurt our player. If it happens again, if they’re not going to be protected, I’ve got to do the same thing.”

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Kellogg told Bell he would have ejected Archer, instead of warning him, if he had thrown at Dietrich’s head.

“Whether it’s aimed at their head or anywhere near their head or their back, to me it’s all the same,” Bell said. “For it to be OK or even somewhat acceptable that it wasn’t aimed at his head, to me that’s a very dangerous approach because even if they’re aiming somewhere else, it could hit a batter right in the head.”


WEDNESDAY’S GAME

Marlins at Reds, 6:40 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410