NEW YORK -- Boston Red Sox reliever Julian Tavarez was suspended for 10 days and fined Thursday for his role in a brawl this week.
Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, cited Tavarez for "violent and unsportsmanlike actions" during Monday's game against the Devil Rays. Tavarez punched Tampa Bay's Joey Gathright lightly on the jaw after a play at home plate.
The penalty would start next Monday, when Boston plays its season opener, unless the players' association appeals.
"I'm a little surprised," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said in Fort Myers, Fla. "I know they didn't have video, so I'm not sure what they're going on.
"It seems like a lot. He should have done steroids. Five more we can replace him. It's a bit stiff," he said.
Tavarez is with his seventh team in eight years and has been suspended four times, starting in May 1996 when he threw a pitch behind Milwaukee's Mike Matheny, sparking a brawl. Tavarez was suspended for three games.
He was suspended for five games and fined $1,000 after a spring training melee in 2001 when San Francisco's Russ Davis charged the mound after striking out because he thought Tavarez, then with the Chicago Cubs, had shown him up.
In 2004, he was suspended for eight days for applying a foreign substance to balls.