Red Sox's Ryan Dempster hit Alex Rodriguez in his first at-bat on Sunday.(Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP)
(USA TODAY) -- Major
League Baseball let Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster know they'll
handle Alex Rodriguez's punishment on their own, with no need for
vigilante acts, suspending Dempster five games for intentionally hitting
the New York Yankees slugger Sunday night.
Dempster, who was also
fined an undisclosed amount, was not ejected from the game Sunday after
hitting Rodriguez in the second inning, but MLB's punishment showed
that home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora made a mistake by not ejecting the
Red Sox starter.
WATCH AGAIN: Dempster plunks A-Rod
you like me or hate, that was wrong," Rodriguez told reporters Sunday
night. "That was unprofessional and silly. It was kind of a silly way to
get someone hurt on your team as well."
Dempster insisted he "was
trying to pitch him inside," but it appeared that he was sending his
own message against Rodriguez, who is appealing a 211-game suspension
for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. It was the first time in
Dempster's 16-year career, according to the Boston Herald, that Dempster hit a batter on a 3-and-0 count.
can't start throwing at people," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said
Sunday night, and reiterated Tuesday morning. "Lives, people have had
concussions; lives are changed by getting hit by pitches. ...
baseball is a weapon. It's not a tennis ball. It's not an incredi-ball
that's soft. It's a weapon, and it can do a lot of damage to someone's
life, and that's why I was so upset about it. You can express your
opinion and be upset with someone, but you just can't start throwing
baseballs at people. It's scary. ...
"Whether I agree with
everything that's going on, you do not throw at people and you don't
take the law into your own hands. You don't do that.
"We're going to skip the judicial system? It's My Cousin Vinny."
by suspending Dempster, Major League Baseball made it clear to the rest
of the baseball that intentionally hitting Rodriguez is unacceptable,
no matter their feelings towards the embattled slugger.
think that's up to him [Dempster] to determine, to throw at a guy
because he's going through what he's going through,'' CC Sabathia said.
"Maybe it was something different. But I don't think it's up to Dempster
to police that."
Said Girardi on Tuesday: "It just makes him 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? I mean, this is what's been
Former Houston Astros reliever Russ Springer admitted
to USA TODAY Sports that he intentionally hit Barry Bonds while he was
immersed in a steroids scandal while attempting to break Hank Aaron's
Springer said Tuesday that, "I don't lose sleep over it,'' but said that he regrets hitting him in 2006.
wasn't proud of it then,'' he said, "and I'm not proud of it now. If I
had to do it all over again, I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't hit him.''
Dempster immediately accepts his suspension, the Red Sox are expected
to compensate for his absence because of upcoming off days in the
schedule. Dempster was scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Los
Angeles Dodgers, but the Red Sox have off days on Thursday and Monday.
The Red Sox could pitch Jon Lester on Saturday and Jake Peavy on Sunday,
who would both be on regular rest.