Dempster suspended 5 games for hitting A-Rod
SAN FRANCISCO -- Boston’s Ryan Dempster was suspended for five games and fined by Major League Baseball for intentionally hitting Yankees star Alex Rodriguez with a pitch last weekend.
The penalty was announced Tuesday by MLB senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr., two days after Dempster hit A-Rod in the second inning at Fenway Park. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was fined for arguing with plate umpire Brian O’Nora.
Dempster’s fine was $2,500 and Girardi’s was $5,000, people familiar with the discipline told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the amounts were not announced.
Dempster won’t appeal the decision.
"I thought it was in the best interest of my team to go ahead and serve my suspension," he said before Boston played the Giants in San Francisco.
He was scheduled to pitch Saturday at the Los Angeles Dodgers, but now could be pushed back to next Tuesday’s homestand opener against Baltimore. He will throw a simulated game on Friday.
Earlier Tuesday, Girardi insisted it would be "open season" on Rodriguez if MLB failed to suspend Dempster.
"I think I made my feelings pretty clear then," he said after the suspension was announced.
Dempster threw one pitch behind A-Rod’s knees and two more inside during the second inning. Then his 3-0 pitch struck Rodriguez’s left elbow pad and ricocheted off his back.
Girardi sprinted onto the field, screaming at O’Nora for not ejecting the pitcher. Girardi was tossed as the benches and bullpens emptied, and Rodriguez homered off Dempster to spark a sixth-inning rally that lifted New York to a 9-6 win.
Dempster maintained he was pitching inside and wasn’t trying to hit Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games on Aug. 5 for violating baseball’s drug and labor agreements but is playing while he appeals. Red Sox pitcher John Lackey criticized the rules last week for allowing A-Rod to play.
Girardi said prior to the announcement that if Dempster wasn’t punished, it would make Rodriguez "open season for people, and that can’t happen. It’s not fair. If a player is suspended for throwing at someone, they’re going to get their appeal. Are we just going to throw that out, too?"
Asked later if the level of penalty would make it open season, he responded: "That’s my concern. We’ll find out. I sure hope not."
"If you suspend a position player three games he misses three games," Girardi added. "You can suspend a pitcher five games, even six games and he may not miss a start. The off days come into play."
New York didn’t retaliate Sunday. Girardi wouldn’t say whether there is a need to respond when the teams next meet, at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 5.
Girardi said "protecting your own" in baseball has gone on for "for a long time. And unfortunately you’re part of those situations sometimes, but that’s part of the game."
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