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Sports

August 21, 2013

Dempster suspended 5 games for hitting A-Rod

NEW YORK — Ryan Dempster of the Boston Red Sox was suspended for five games and fined by Major League Baseball for intentionally hitting Yankees star Alex Rodriguez with a pitch last weekend.

The penalty was announced Tuesday by MLB senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr., two days after Dempster hit A-Rod in the second inning at Fenway Park. Garagiola also fined Yankees manager Joe Girardi for arguing with plate umpire Brian O’Nora on Sunday night.

Dempster’s fine was $2,500 and Girardi’s was $5,000, separate people familiar with the discipline told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the amounts were not announced.

Dempster could still play if he appeals the penalty. Boston has off days Thursday and Monday, allowing him to serve the suspension while getting pushed back only a couple days in the Red Sox rotation.

Dempster threw one pitch behind A-Rod’s knees and two more inside in the second inning. Then his 3-0 pitch struck Rodriguez’s left elbow pad and ricocheted off his back.

Girardi sprinted onto the field, screaming at plate umpire Brian O’Nora for not ejecting the pitcher. Girardi was tossed as the benches and bullpens emptied, and Rodriguez homered off Dempster to spark a sixth-inning rally that lifted New York to a 9-6 win.

Dempster maintained he was just pitching inside and wasn’t trying to hit Rodriguez.

Earlier Tuesday, Girardi insisted it would be “open season” on Rodriguez if MLB failed to suspend Dempster.

“That baseball is a weapon. It’s not a tennis ball. ... It’s a weapon, and it can do a lot of damage to someone’s life,” Girardi said before a doubleheader against Toronto. “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. I mean, it’s scary.”

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