SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Boston’s Ryan Dempster accepted his punishment without admitting any misdeed.
Dempster was suspended for five games and fined by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for intentionally hitting New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez with a pitch last weekend.
While Dempster still maintains he was only trying to establish the inside part of the plate and wasn’t trying to hit Rodriguez on purpose, he will not contest the punishment and began serving it Tuesday.
“I thought about appealing,” Dempster said before Boston played the Giants. “At the end of the day, I think Major League Baseball does a really good job of thinking through punishments before they hand them out. I thought it was in the best interest of us as a team to go ahead and serve my suspension.”
MLB senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr. announced the penalty two days after Dempster hit A-Rod in the second inning at Fenway Park. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was fined for arguing with plate umpire Brian O’Nora.
Dempster’s fine was $2,500 and Girardi’s was $5,000, people familiar with the discipline told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the amounts were not announced.
Dempster was scheduled to pitch Saturday at the Los Angeles Dodgers but now could be pushed back to next Tuesday’s homestand opener against Baltimore. He will throw a simulated game on Friday.
Boston is off Thursday, and Jon Lester will be able to pitch on regular rest Saturday in Dempster’s place. Jake Peavy is set to go Sunday on normal four days’ rest.
“That has nothing to do with it,” Dempster said. “I think it has to do with taking my suspension and put it past. There’s no point in carrying out an appeals process. We have other things to worry about and that’s going out and winning a ballgame tonight against the San Francisco Giants. I’ll take my punishment.”
Earlier Tuesday, Girardi insisted it would be “open season” on Rodriguez if MLB failed to suspend Dempster. Girardi had hoped for a suspension long enough to make Dempster miss a turn.
“I think I made my feelings pretty clear then,” Girardi said after the suspension was announced.
Dempster threw one pitch behind A-Rod’s knees and two more inside during the second inning. Then his 3-0 pitch struck Rodriguez’s left elbow pad and ricocheted off his back.
“You don’t throw at a guy four times,” Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said. “He violated every code in every way.”
Dempster said he will never stop pitching inside.
“That’s a real important part of pitching to any hitter, especially a big power hitter,” he said.