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Rangers GM Jon Daniels doesn’t want Rougned Odor to change

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Major League Baseball on Tuesday brought down the hammer on Rougned Odor, suspending the Texas Rangers shortstop eight games for his role in Sunday’s brawl with the Toronto Blue Jays, an ugly skirmish highlighted by Odor landing a vicious punch on Jose Bautista.

Despite the punishment, hand-wringing and commentary, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels doesn’t want the young Odor to change who he is or how he plays the game one bit.

“In a few years, nobody’s going to remember the suspension,” Daniels said during an appearance this week on ESPN Radio’s “Cowlishaw and Mosley”, as transcribed by dallasnews.com. “They’re going to remember the way he plays the game and the intensity.

“There’s also a fine line, and I want his game and reputation to be noted for what a good player he is and how intense he is and all the positives he brings to the team offensively, defensively. You don’t want a great young player who’s going to have a great career to be noted for anything other than that.

“I don’t want him to change. I want him to play with edge. We don’t want him to lose that. But we also want him to be self-aware so his reputation remains a good one.”

Daniels bemoaned the disparity between Odor’s suspension and the punishments meted out to the Blue Jays — 14 in total were punished for their respective roles in the melee — specifically how Bautista was only suspended one game for his aggressive slide and his actions leading up to the punch.

“In talking with the guys at MLB, they draw a pretty clear distinction for throwing and landing a punch, so I think that is ultimately the reason why we’re seeing that,” Daniels said. “Obviously when Bautista slides he doesn’t jog off the field like you would after a normal play like that. He jumps up, and they’re nose to nose and shoving. Looked like both guys wanted to throw a punch, and Rougie quite literally beat him to it. I guess the landing of the punch is the separator there.”

The bad blood between the teams dating back to the postseason last year obviously came to a head on Sunday. With the league doling out punishments and fines, along with the fact the two teams won’t play again this season — barring the playoffs — the case can be made that everything leading up to and including Sunday’s brawl can be put in the past.