Ryan Dempster suspended 5 games for intentionally hitting A-Rod

Jared Wickerham

It's official: Boston will be without Dempster for five games, as MLB has made their decision.

It was expected that Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster would be suspended for hitting the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez with a pitch on Sunday, and now there is no question. Major League Baseball announced that they've suspended Dempster for five games, while also fining him an undisclosed sum.

In a way, MLB had to do this -- not suspending Dempster would have opened up A-Rod to the risk of future hit by pitches, and not everyone might have been as forgiving as Dempster, who didn't go head hunting with his offering. Dempster claims it wasn't intentional, but that's a bit hard to believe, and MLB agrees.

This should not upset the Red Sox' plans much, though. They have a day off on Thursday, and another on Monday, meaning they can start Jon Lester on regular rest on Saturday in place of Dempster, and could even skip him a second time the following week if they so desired. As he's struggled significantly lately, and has his seen his ERA rise to a well below-average 4.77, taking some time off to reset wouldn't be the worst thing, especially since the rest of the rotation would be on regular rest.

Joe Girardi, who understandably lost his cool following the hit by pitch, was also fined by Major League Baseball.

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