Canadian pitcher Ryan Dempster of the Boston Red Sox is expected to learn his fate Tuesday after throwing three pitches inside to New York Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez on Sunday night and hitting him once on the left elbow.
The New York Post reported Dempster is “almost certain” to receive a suspension even though home plate umpire Brian O’Nora only issued a warning to the right-hander from Gibsons, B.C., and didn’t eject him from the game.
O’Nora did throw out Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who stormed out of the team’s dugout pleading for an ejection.
“I wish he had to hit,” said Girardi to reporters of Dempster, who has hit 90 batters in 15-plus major league seasons. “That’s what I wish.”
Joe Torre, one of Rodriguez’s former managers with the Yankees and now Major League Baseball disciplinarian, is reviewing the incident along with Joe Garagiola Jr.
In the second inning of Sunday’s 9-6 loss to the Yankees, Dempster hit Rodriguez on the left elbow on a 3-0 pitch, the third inside pitch of the at-bat.
The hurler from Gibsons, B.C., claimed he was “just trying to pitch inside” but Dempster is known for possessing good control of his pitches.
Rodriguez, who is playing while appealing a 211-game suspension for his connection to Biogenesis, the alleged performance-enhancing drug clinic, said Dempster’s action were “silly” and “unprofessional” but stopped short of calling for MLB to suspend the pitcher.
Girardi said on Sunday that Dempster should be suspended.
“They [Red Sox] have a lot of days off [this Thursday and next Monday] and you could finagle something, like if he took the suspension [Tuesday] if he got suspended he wouldn’t miss a start. It has to cost him something,” Girardi said
Many CBCSports.ca readers don’t agree with the Yankees manager that Dempster’s actions warrant punishment by missed games. Of the 3,254 respondents to a vote asking if the pitcher should be suspended, 58 per cent said “No” compared to 42 per cent who answered “Yes.”
Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer told USA Today Sports on Monday that no one should be permitted to take baseball law into their own hands and intentionally hit another player for their off-field conduct.
"I really don't understand why it happened, trying to take a shot at somebody," he said. "We just faced the Yankees. We didn't have this overwhelming urge to drill [Rodriguez] because he's playing under the appeal process.
"We have a system in place. It allows you to play under an appeal. Those are the rules. Those are the facts. It doesn't matter if you're innocent or guilty, you can choose the appeal process.
"You are still innocent until proven guilty."
Red Sox manager John Farrell, understandably, continued to back Dempster a day after the incident and said he didn’t expect the pitcher to be suspended.
“Some are going to take the viewpoint that it was totally intentional [on Dempster’s part]. I don’t see it that way,” Farrell said Monday. “I said during the broadcast and after the game, Ryan’s got to establish his fastball. He’s got to establish it [inside] to certain right-handed hitters.
“Unfortunately a 3-0 pitch got away from him. His split [finger fastball] and his slider are critical to him, and if he has right-handed hitters leaning all over the plate, you saw two at-bats later what can happen.”
In the sixth inning, Rodriguez got his revenge, sending a Dempster pitch 446 feet into the centre-field seats, and finished 3-for-4 on the night.
Below, Dempster's first pitch behind Rodriguez's legs is shown along with the one that hit A-Rod on the left elbow. Express your thoughts by voting in the poll above and in the comment section.