HOUSTON (AP) — Astros reliever Bryan Abreu was eligible to pitch in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Texas Rangers on Monday night after his two-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Adolis García was upheld in an appeals hearing and delayed until the start of next season.
Abreu was suspended Saturday by MLB senior vice president Michael Hill, a day after the incident. The reliever appealed, allowing him to pitch in Game 6, and the hearing was held Monday before John McHale Jr., a special assistant to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Abreu has been one of Houston’s top relievers with 2.45 ERA in eight appearances this postseason.
He was pleased with the resolution since it allows him to pitch this postseason despite the suspension not being reduced.
“Of course,” he said. “I’m glad to be here and try to help the team to win.”
The players’ association declined comment.
Abreu pitched the eighth inning Sunday night, but manager Dusty Baker didn’t leave him in longer because he wanted him to be available in case his suspension was overturned or delayed.
“That was kind of what I was hoping for when I didn’t use him in a down game two innings yesterday,” Baker said. “He told me he was prepared to throw as many as possible just in case he had to serve a suspension. So it’s a blessing to have him for today.”
Abreu’s suspension was issued after MLB said all six umpires determined he intentionally threw at García in the eighth inning in Game 5 when he hit the slugger on the left arm with a 98.9 mph fastball. Two innings earlier, García flipped his bat and took a slow trot around the bases after his soaring three-run homer gave Texas a 4-2 lead in Arlington.
In suspending Abreu, MLB said it “took into account the dangerous nature of the pitch and its potential impact on player safety.”
The right-hander’s pitch angered García and prompted a benches-clearing scuffle that led to a 12-minute delay. Abreu, García and Baker were ejected.
Houston won 5-4 on Jose Altuve’s three-run homer in the ninth.
Abreu said going through this situation has helped improved his ability to block out off-the-field distractions.
“That’s part of the being an athlete,” he said. “Teams come around us and we just have to learn how to be focused on being great on the field and all that and try to separate all that happens outside of the field. And that’s probably one of the best things that I’ve been learning lately.”