TORONTO -- Major League Baseball on Friday decided to uphold its one-game suspension of Jose Bautista for his recent altercation with the Rangers.
Bautista went through the appeals process on Thursday morning in New York. He was hoping to get his suspension lifted, but instead he was required to miss Friday night's series opener at home against the Red Sox.
The veteran slugger was penalized for his involvement in the on-field fracas between Toronto and Texas on May 15. At the time, MLB said in a statement that it had suspended Bautista for his actions on the field, as well as for his postgame comments to the media.
"I can't really get into those specifics," Bautista said when asked about the reason behind the league's ruling. "If you want to ask them, you'd get a better answer of the reasoning. I'd be speculating a lot if I were to expand on that, and I don't want to do that."
Bautista maintained his innocence throughout the process, and he wanted to have his case heard by the league with the help of the MLB Players Association. Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor took a similar approach, and he had his eight-game suspension reduced to seven on Thursday.
The altercation began when Bautista was hit by a pitch from Texas right-hander Matt Bush, which appeared to be in retaliation for last year's infamous bat flip in Game 5 of the American League Division Series. Cooler heads initially prevailed, but the scene turned ugly later in that same inning.
Bautista violated MLB rules with a late and hard slide into second base. Odor took exception to the play, and as the two players came face to face, Odor shoved Bautista with two hands and then punched him in the jaw. The violent scene led to a benches-clearing fracas, and suspensions were later handed out to Bautista, Odor, Toronto right-hander Jesse Chavez, manager John Gibbons and first-base coach Tim Leiper.
The suspension for Bautista immediately went into effect. He is eligible to return to the field on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
"I provided more than 20 examples of previous situations where the runner was more at fault of taking part in a bad slide where contact was made and injuries were coming out of the plays and there was never suspensions or fines," Bautista said of his case.
"On the other hand, they only showed three examples of situations that don't even fit the same play. They were plays, plays at the plate, plays at first base and one play in between first and second, but I don't know. They didn't seem to be relevant to my situation. You guys have to ask [the league]."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.