SAN FRANCISCO -- Well, Alex Rodriguez has at least one defender in the Red Sox clubhouse.
A week after John Lackey and Jonny Gomes said they didn't think it was right that A-Rod be allowed to play while appealing his 211-game suspension for PED use -- and three days after Ryan Dempster drilled Rodriguez in the back in a bit of frontier justice, for which he received a five-game suspension -- David Ortiz came to Rodriguez's defense.
"I didn't like it," Ortiz told USA Today. "I don't think it was the right thing to do.
"But we don't all think alike, and the guy who did it, Dempster, is a great guy.
"It's not that I didn't think it was right because Alex and I are friends, because once you cross the white lines, everyone's on their own. But we've got Tampa right on our heels, and that pitch woke up a monster in the Yankees' team at that moment. You saw how the game ended up. CC [Sabathia] was throwing 91 [mph] and started throwing 96. Alex later hit one way out there. You're talking about a good team that you can't wake up. But we learn from our mistakes.''
The Red Sox led, 2-0, when Dempster hit Rodriguez in the second inning Sunday night, prompting a furious tirade from Yankee manager Joe Girardi that got him ejected. The Yankees eventually rallied from a 6-3 deficit for a 9-6 victory that sparked them on what is now a four-game winning stereak. The comeback was jumpstarted by a mammoth Rodriguez home run to center field in the fifth inning, after which he took an elongated home-run trot and then stamped on home plate while pointing skyward.