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Bryce Harper suspended 3 games for fight, Hunter Strickland suspended 6 (updated)

Throwing a baseball and starting an altercation are worse than throwing a helmet and continuing it, according to MLB.

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was suspended four games and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for his role in a bench-clearing incident Monday, and San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland was suspended for six games and also received a fine. Both players will appeal the decision.

Update: Harper’s suspension was reduced to three games according to Ken Rosenthal.

Strickland appeared to throw at Harper intentionally in the seventh inning of Monday’s matinee, taking umbrage with him being demonstratively good at baseball three years ago. Or something. Harper charged the mound and fired his helmet in the direction of the sun as a brilliant distraction — and it would have worked if he didn’t run into an open palm.

You can see the whole mess here:

Strickland received the harsher penalty because a) he started it, b) baseballs can do more damage than helmets, all things being equal. MLB has stated a desire to punish intentional plunkings more harshly, beginning with the Matt Barnes and Manny Machado fracas earlier this year.

There are still two games left in the Giants-Nationals series, and there’s still a 98-percent chance that Buster Posey gets a baseball to the butt, even though he was a conscientious objector in the kerfuffle. So stay tuned.