Strickland Defuses Subplot of Fight: ‘I Know Buster Has Got Our Backs'

SAN FRANCISCO - For the second time in less than 24 hours, Hunter Strickland stood in front of his locker and addressed a purpose pitch and a punch. This time, Strickland knew what the brawl had cost him. 

The right-hander was suspended six games by Major League Baseball, although he has appealed. Bryce Harper got four games for his role, and he also appealed. Both players are available Tuesday, but Strickland did not expect his showdown with Harper to carry over. 

"I think it's done," he said. "Yesterday is in the past and we've got to go out today and try to win a game and compete."

The Giants do not expect retaliation, and there was no indication it was coming. Both sides tried to move forward the day after, putting all the subplots in the past. Strickland met with manager Bruce Bochy and also with catcher Buster Posey. Bochy also met with Posey, who got some national attention for not running to Strickland's defense. 

"I know Buster has got our backs," Strickland said. "We as a team stick together and that was never a worry of mine. I have talked to Buster but I don't think he needs to explain his role."

Posey repeatedly told reporters, "My focus is on playing the game today." It would be impossible for Posey to avoid all the noise, but he isn't one prone to listening to talk radio or cruising social media. He has joked in the past that he drives in silence to get some peace after so much time spent as a father to two young kids.

Bochy did not shed any light on his discussion with Posey. 

"They're going to find things to say about everything about a brawl," he said of the reaction. "There are some things we'd like to keep internal and I'll keep it at that."

In informal discussions around the clubhouse and during batting practice, players said this won't be an issue. Sure, there are players down there who don't agree with what Posey did, but most understand the importance of avoiding pileups, especially when you've had an ankle injury in the past and a concussion already this season. 

One player said he was sprinting for the pile in hopes of reaching Harper, but he saw how many large humans had gathered on the mound and thought better of it. The pile included Daniel Murphy, who ended up on the ground and told a Giants coach that he had spike marks all over his legs. It also included Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse, who collided. Harper told reporters he was happy Morse got in Samardzija's way before he could throw a punch. 

"I'm very thankful for Mikey Mo," he said. 

A punch from Samardzija would have led to another suspension, but he'll start Tuesday. Strickland will be available for the seventh as always, although the Giants will soon have to deal with life without one of their two setup guys. Bochy said George Kontos and Bryan Morris would be elevated when Strickland serves his suspension. He's hopeful it's not ultimately six games.

"We're a man short there with six (games)," Bochy said. "Our hope is we get it down."

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