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Beckett given six-game ban for high pitch

BOSTON Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett was stunned after receiving a six-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Tuesday for intentionally throwing a ball near the head of the Los Angeles Angels' Bobby Abreu last week.

Beckett, who immediately appealed the ruling, also was fined an undisclosed amount and cited for "aggressive actions" after the pitch that led to the benches clearing on Sunday, according to Bob Watson, vice president for discipline in the MLB commissioner's office.

"We were pretty shocked," Beckett said. "I think the appeal speaks for everything that we feel. I respect the job they have to do, but I don't agree."

Any suspension wouldn't begin until after Beckett's appeal is decided, likely allowing him to make his next scheduled start on Saturday against Baltimore.

Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher also was angry after being suspended for one game and fined, although he served the penalty on Tuesday. In addition, Watson fined Angels manager Mike Scioscia and players Torii Hunter and Justin Speier.

The incident began when Abreu was granted a timeout after a long pause on the mound by Beckett, who was holding Chone Figgins on second base. Beckett finished his throwing motion in any pitcher's normal attempt to avoid injury from a sudden stop, but his throw went in the direction of Abreu's head.

Beckett insists the throw's direction was unintentional.

"It's what we're taught to do," Beckett said. "We have to kind of protect ourselves in those situations. That ball could have ended up anywhere, and that's unfortunate where it ended up."

The throw infuriated the Angels' bench and Abreu, who raised his arms and stared at Beckett. The pitcher then moved toward Abreu, causing both benches to clear, although no real fighting went on.

Scioscia was pleased with the outcome. "It makes us feel good that MLB really supported our position."


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