Sexson handed six-day suspension
Slugger appeals the decision, will wait to serve time
SEATTLE -- The Mariners' Richie Sexson was handed a six-game suspension on Friday, mere hours after he charged the mound to ignite a benches-clearing incident in Thursday night's game against the Rangers.
Calling Sexson's actions "violent and aggressive," Bob Watson, Major League Baseball's vice president of on-field operations, leveled the discipline originally scheduled to begin Friday night.
However, Sexson's decision to appeal the ruling will hold the punishment in abeyance until the appeal process is completed.
Sexson stormed the mound following a pitch by Texas left-hander Kason Gabbard in the bottom of the fourth inning that sailed in head-high to the 6-foot-8 right-handed hitter, although over the plate. He also flung his batting helmet at Gabbard, who tossed away his glove and clamped his arms around Sexson as both benches emptied.
"I know throwing the helmet, that's the wrong thing -- it's a chicken move," Sexson said after the game. "I know in the end that wasn't the right thing to do, but I lost it right there."
"I thought that was bull," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "How tall is [Sexson]? And you go out there on a little guy and throw a helmet. If you go look at that replay, Gabbard was nowhere near Sexson's head. I guess he was just a little frustrated, and things got out of control."
Sexson has struggled at the plate this season, hitting .209 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs for the last-place Mariners. He missed Wednesday night's game to be with his son, who was in a local hospital.
"[Wednesday] night I missed a game -- I was with my child at Children's Hospital," Sexson explained. "A lot of [stuff] is running through your head right there. You get up near my face, [and] I'm not dealing with that.
"I don't mind getting hit, just keep it down. I'm a huge target. How hard is it to hit me in the back or the thigh? Get up near my face, [and] it's no good."
"It's a tough situation," Mariners skipper John McLaren said before Friday's game. "Richie's frustrated. He's had some issues off the field. When your eyes see that, you just react -- and he reacted. He was real frustrated, and he went out to the mound. I wish he'd of dropped his helmet off on the way, but he didn't."
Although no punches were thrown, the high tempers displayed during the melee led to Watson also leveling undisclosed fines against three other players.
Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez, who at one point had to be restrained by three players, and Texas catcher Gerald Laird and pitcher Sidney Ponson drew the fines.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Hester contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.