Dempster suspended, fined for hitting A-Rod

Boston Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster received a five-game suspension and undisclosed fine for intentionally hitting the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, Major League Baseball senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr. announced Tuesday.

Dempster will not appeal the penalty and will begin serving the suspension Tuesday night.

Dempster threw one pitch behind A-Rod’s knees on Sunday night and two more inside at Fenway Park. Then his 3-0 pitch struck Rodriguez’s left elbow pad and ricocheted off his back.

“It sucks any time you get suspended, it’s not a fun feeling to have,” Dempster said. “[Not appealing] has to do with just taking my suspension and putting it [in the] past. There’s no point in carrying out an appeal process. We’ve got other things to worry about.”

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who also received an undisclosed fine for his argument with umpire Brian O’Nora, said Tuesday before his team’s doubleheader against Toronto that Dempster needed to be suspended or it would be “open season” on Rodriguez.

“You just can’t throw at someone because you don’t like him or disagree with the way something’s being handled,” Girardi said. “If a player is suspended for throwing at someone, they’re going to get their appeal. Are we going to throw that out, too? So, I mean, this is what’s been negotiated.”

The “appeal” Girardi mentioned is a reference to Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension on Aug. 5 for violating baseball’s drug and labor agreements. Rodriguez is allowed to play during the appeal.

Some players, including Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, have criticized the rules for allowing Rodriguez to play.

“You can express your opinion and be upset with someone but you just can’t start throwing baseballs at people,” said Girardi, who was hit in the face as a player. “It’s scary.”

Girardi and CC Sabathia expressed disappointment that Dempster may not miss a start due to the suspension. The Red Sox have two off days over the next seven days.

In essence, Dempster’s five-game punishment has very little effect on Boston’s pitching staff.

“If you suspend a position player three games, he misses three games. You can suspend a pitcher five games, even six games and they may not miss a start if the off days come into play,” Girardi said. “That’s why I think the off days have to be taken into account when you make a suspension.”

Dempster denied that he had any personal problems with Rodriguez. “I don’t really know Alex much,” he said.

Girardi was fined $5,000 and Dempster $2,500, a source told the Associated Press.

After Rodriguez was hit on Sunday night, Girardi sprinted onto the field, screaming at home-plate umpire Brian O’Nora for not ejecting the pitcher. Girardi was tossed as the benches and bullpens emptied. Girardi said it was the most upset he’s been on a baseball field.

“One of the reasons I was so upset is … I mean that baseball is a weapon,” he said. “It’s not a tennis ball or it’s not an IncrediBall that’s soft. It’s a weapon and it can do a lot of damage to someone’s life.”

Girardi’s support of Rodriguez is in stark contrast to the relationship between Rodriguez and the Yankees’ front office and ownership. Rodriguez’s legal team has accused the Yankees of, among other things, misdiagnosing Rodriguez’s hip injury during last year’s playoffs. The Yankees have denied the allegations.

Girardi, however, said he supports Rodriguez because it is his job as manager. He added that he has not been given any specific directive from the front office on how to treat Rodriguez.

“I have never been told to play him or not play him. The lineup is mine, how to treat my players is mine, so I just go from there,” he said.

In other Yankees news, injured shortstop Derek Jeter is expected to play another simulated game in Tampa on Tuesday and run the bases. He has not run the bases since he landed on the disabled list with a calf injury. Girardi did not offer a specific date for Jeter’s return. Tuesday is the first day that Jeter is eligible to come off of the disabled list.

Jeter broke his left ankle in the AL Championship Series in October and missed the first 91 games this year. Since then, the 13-time All-Star, who is hitting .211 (4-for-19) with one home run and two RBIs, has spent time on the DL with a strained right quadriceps and the calf injury.

Information from contributor Joe Stiglich and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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