CHICAGO — Major League Baseball has determined neither Stephen Strasburg nor Davey Johnson will be suspended after each was ejected from the Nationals' game Saturday night in Atlanta, essentially ruling Strasburg did not intentionally throw at Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
No announcement has been made by MLB regarding the situation, but a league source said the commissioner's office reviewed the events of Saturday's game and concluded neither Strasburg nor Johnson merited a suspension, the punishment typically doled out when a pitcher is ejected for intentionally throwing at a batter.
The decision comes on the same day MLB suspended Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster five games for intentionally hitting the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez on Sunday night, even though Dempster wasn't ejected from that game.
Strasburg became embroiled in the Nationals-Braves feud, which began when teammate Bryce Harper was hit by three pitches in three games against Atlanta, the last of which knocked the 20-year-old outfielder from the next night's game with a bruised left triceps muscle.
Strasburg retaliated on Saturday, firing a fastball into Justin Upton's left hip in the bottom of the first inning. That plunking led plate umpire Marvin Hudson to issue warnings to both the Nationals and the Braves dugouts, requiring automatic ejections for pitchers and managers for any further retaliation.
Strasburg opened the bottom of the second inning walking Jordan Schafer on four straight balls, then bounced a curveball to Simmons for a wild pitch. His next two pitches, fastballs, each sailed behind Simmons' back, ultimately allowing Schafer to score from third base and prompting Hudson to eject both Strasburg and Johnson.
Afterward, members of both clubs suggested their didn't believe Strasburg was intentionally throwing at Simmons.
"I can't really explain it," Strasburg said. "Just didn't really feel good out there and couldn't hit the spot."
"I've never seen his command so bad," said Johnson, who immediately asked Strasburg if he was injured (the pitcher insisted he was not). "He didn't come close to the first hitter he faced. Then [pitching coach Steve] McCatty went out, and he threw a curveball that was 8 feet outside. Then he threw a couple behind the hitter. Didn't look like they were trying to hit him. He couldn't even find the strike zone."
In its ruling today, MLB essentially said there was no evidence Strasburg intentionally threw at Simmons. Both Strasburg and Johnson could still face fines, which traditionally are mandated any time a player or manager is ejected.