ST. LOUIS -- Major League Baseball suspended Pirates pitcher Jonathan Sanchez for six games and fined him an undisclosed amount for hitting Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig with a pitch Friday night.
Sanchez appealed the decision and will be eligible to pitch until the conclusion of the appeals process. Manager Clint Hurdle said Sanchez would have been available to pitch out of the bullpen Saturday, if necessary.
Home plate umpire Tim Timmons said after the game Friday he believed Sanchez intentionally threw at Craig with a fastball that thumped him on the left shoulder, just below his helmet. The league automatically reviews all incidents when an umpire believes such a throw is intentional.
Hurdle spoke with Joe Torre, the league's executive vice preside of operations, Saturday morning.
"I shared with him my thoughts, and he shared his with me," Hurdle said before the league's announcement. "One of the beautiful things with this game is many times people can agree to disagree on topics and move on."
After the game Saturday, Hurdle had no comment on Sanchez's suspension.
Sanchez's next scheduled start was already in jeopardy because of his lackluster performance on the mound. The Pirates have not announced their rotation for a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers that starts Monday, and Sanchez's spot in the rotation comes up Wednesday.
Timmons said Friday because of the timeline of events -- where Sanchez allowed back-to-back home runs and a sharply hit single to start the game before beaning Craig ---- he thought there was intent behind Sanchez's actions.
"At the end of the day, the only person that knows what happened, truly, is Jonathan," Hurdle said.
Sanchez said after the game he did not mean to hit Craig; he was trying to pitch inside and missed his spot.
"He knows that he's got to pitch well to keep a spot, and anything that takes away from that isn't productive to pitching well," Hurdle said.
Craig deferred when asked if he believed there was intent behind Sanchez's actions.
"That's not really important," he said.
"It's not my job to judge intent on stuff like that. I'm not the one throwing the ball. I don't know."
Michael Sanserino: email@example.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino. First Published April 28, 2013 4:00 AM