Red Sox will skip righty's start after he declines to appeal suspension
SAN FRANCISCO -- Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster has been suspended five games for a pitch Sunday night at Fenway Park that hit Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the back of the left elbow. He will not appeal.
Dempster threw inside to Rodriguez three times earlier in the at-bat.
Instead of appealing the suspension, Dempster began serving it for Tuesday's game against the Giants. He will miss the remaining five games of this West Coast trip and return to the Red Sox on Aug. 27 for the start of a homestand against the Orioles.
"It [stinks], any time you get suspended," Dempster said. "I've never been suspended in my career so it's not a fun feeling to have, but [I'll] start serving, be done with it on Sunday and get back to trying to help my team."
Major League Baseball announced the suspension via a news release Tuesday afternoon, citing that the suspension and undisclosed fine were for "intentionally throwing at and hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch in the top of the second inning of Sunday night's game at Fenway Park."
Joe Garagiola Jr., senior vice president of standards and operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.
Though the Red Sox never want to see a player get suspended, this one actually happened at a favorable portion of the schedule. With off-days Thursday and Monday, the Red Sox can rework their rotation with four pitchers until Dempster's return.
Dempster would have pitched Saturday against the Dodgers. Now, Jon Lester can make that start on regular rest with Jake Peavy finishing out the road trip with the Sunday night game in Los Angeles.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said he is unsure when Dempster's next start will come.
"Well, it gives us the ability to have guys rolled back with the proper amount of rest," said Farrell. "We've got a number of scenarios that we can map out going forward so we haven't set our rotation upon Ryan's return. We do have a sim game set up for him Friday along with Matt Thornton when we arrive down in L.A. We've got ways to not only keep him in shape, but keep him sharp. When we become more clear on what our rotation's going to look like, we'll certainly announce it at that time."
In declining to appeal, Dempster cited that the team comes first.
"I thought about appealing but at the end of the day, Major League Baseball I think does a really good job of thinking through punishments before they hand them out," Dempster said. "I just thought it was in the best interest of us as a team to go ahead and serve my suspension and move forward and do what I need to do to be ready to go out there and help us."
The other motivation for Dempster is that he didn't want any controversy to linger during an appeal process.
"It has to do with just taking my suspension, putting it in the past," said Dempster. "There's no point in carrying out an appeals process. We've got other things to worry about, and that's going out there and winning a ballgame tonight against the San Francisco Giants. I'll take my punishment."
Dempster continued to reiterate that his motivation for the at-bat against Rodriguez -- who homered off him later in the game -- was to establish the inside corner.
"I will never try and take away trying to pitch inside and that's a really important of pitching to any hitter, especially big power hitters," Dempster said. "I always put my team first. I always go out there and everything I do in between starts, everything I do between the lines, even the days I'm not pitching when I'm in here in the dugout, is all about putting the team first.
"Unfortunately at the end of the day I thought I was throwing the ball really well until that sixth inning and was giving us a chance to win. I just didn't complete my job, and if I would have done a better job, I think it would have been a non-issue."
Though Dempster didn't answer the question directly when asked if he thought it was fair Rodriguez could keep playing during his 211-game suspension, he said he has no personal animosity toward A-Rod.
"I don't really know Alex much," said Dempster.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi received a fine for his argument with umpire Brian O'Nora that followed the hit-by-pitch.
The Yankees were critical that Dempster didn't receive stiffer punishment.
"I know in this situation, I think he should have gotten longer," CC Sabathia said. "I don't know about anything else, but given that he threw at Alex four times, he should have gotten longer. ... I thought he at least should miss a start, and he's not going to do that. I don't think it does anything."
Dempster wasn't interested in countering what the Yankees had to say.
"To be really honest, I just worry about what us as a team, the Boston Red Sox, are thinking, and that's going out there tonight and winning a game against the San Francisco Giants," Dempster said.