MLB announced Tuesday that it suspended Washington Nationals rookie pitcher A.J. Cole five games for intentionally throwing close to the head of Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang during Sunday afternoon’s contest.

Cole will appeal the suspension. 

The feud began in the third inning when Nationals star Bryce Harper tripled down the right field line. The throw from Pirates right fielder Josh Bell sailed over both cutoff men and bounced well to the left of third base, where Harper was headed. 

As Kang covered third, he faked as though the ball was coming at him by pretending to prepare for a tag. To beat the imaginary tag attempt, Harper slid awkwardly into third, where he injured his hand, which forced him to leave the game:

According to the Washington Post‘s Chelsea Janes, Harper jammed his thumb and underwent X-rays on Monday. He isn’t expected to miss much time. 

Harper missed Monday night’s game and is not in the Nationals’ lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacksper Rotowire.

He had torn the ligament in his left thumb in 2014 and was initially worried that it happened again Sunday, voicing his displeasure with Kang’s actions in the process, per Janes:

First initial thought in my head was my UCL [ulnar collateral ligament] was gone and I’ll have to go back through surgery and things like that. Right now, I don’t feel that feeling. More like a jam, like in basketball kind of thing. Just a bad play. Ball’s up the line, shouldn’t do it. I understand the deke at second base, double play kind of thing. But that kind of thing? It’s not part of the game.

In the bottom of the inning, Cole seemingly came to the defense of his teammate by unleashing a fastball that sailed behind Kang, which ushered an immediate ejection. 

The benches proceeded to clear, but that was the extent of the fireworks. 

Per, Cole is the Nationals’ 13th-ranked prospect and is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA in seven games this season. 

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