Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster has been suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount for "intentionally throwing at and hitting Alex Rodriguez" on Sunday night, Major League Baseball announced. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was also fined for his tirade.
Dempster threw at A-Rod four times in his first at-bat on Sunday night. The first pitch was behind his legs, the second and third inside around his waste, and the fourth in his ribs for the hit-by-pitch. Home plate umpire Brian O'Nora elected to warn both benches but did not eject Dempster.
Both benches cleared following the plunking, but no punches were thrown. Girardi was furious and had a heated argument with O'Nora, leading to the ejection. He said after the game that he believed Dempster should have been warned after the first pitch and ejected following the hit-by-pitch since his intentions were obvious.
MLB had to discipline Dempster for obvious reasons. First and foremost, throwing at any player can not be condoned. Secondly, allowing the incident to go unpunished would have made it "open season" on A-Rod, so to speak. Thirdly, Rodriguez has accused MLB and the Yankees of conspiring to get rid of him, and the lack of a suspension would have given some credence to that.
Several Red Sox players were outspoken with their belief that A-Rod should not be allowed to play considering his ties to the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Based on various reports, Dempster may have also held a grudge against Rodriguez after being snubbed at a public event as well.
Because the Red Sox are off on Thursday and Monday, Dempster can serve his suspension without even missing a start. As with all suspensions, such as A-Rod's record 211-ban, Dempster has the right to appeal and play until a ruling is made.