Las Vegas manager Wally Backman, along with Mets minor leaguers Armando Rodriguez and Jordany Valdespin have both been suspended for their role in a bench-clearing brawl in the second game of a doubleheader against the Sacramento River Cats on Monday. Rodriguez and Valdespin were both suspended three games while Backman was suspended for two.
The incident occurred after Valdespin hit a home run in the second game of the doubleheader, showboated, watching the home run with his bat in-hand halfway down the first base line. Later in the game, River Cats pitcher Brian Gordon threw at Valdespin until he hit him in the hand, prompting the umpire to warn both benches.
Next half inning, 51s pitcher Armando Rodriguez hit River Cats second baseman Grant Green, clearing both benches. There was pushing, shoving, and screaming between the two teams, with Backman and River Cats manager Steve Scarsone getting very heated. Everyone involved was ejected from the game.
Earlier today, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that the 51s were planning suspensions for Valdespin, Rodriguez, and Backman, but the PCL stepped in instead with penalties of their own.
This is not the first time Backman and Valdespin have gotten into trouble. Backman is notorious for his loud mouth and frequent confrontations with other teams and umpires. He was suspended for three games last August after a confrontation with Syracuse manager Tony Beasley in which he accused Syracuse of stealing signs.
Valdespin has been suspended a number of times throughout his career for various discipline issues, and made headlines a few weeks ago, flipping out in the clubhouse after learning of his demotion to Triple-A. He is hitting .469/.552/.776 with three home runs, four doubles, a triple, and two stolen bases in 15 games, earning himself PCL Player of the Week Honors. However, Terry Collins still says it’s unlikely Valdespin returns to the Mets until after the roster expands on September 1, likely because of these issues.
Backman has already served one of his two games, while Valdespin and Rodriguez will both serve their suspensions beginning today, with Rodriguez serving it with Binghamton and Valdespin with Las Vegas.