Dempster disappointed, but accepts suspension

Dempster disappointed, but accepts suspension
August 20, 2013, 9:00 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO -- While continuing to maintain that he didn't intentionally hit Alex Rodriguez Sunday night, Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster declined to appeal the five-game suspension handed to him by Major League Baseball.
     
The suspension began Tuesday night and continues to run through Sunday, the final day of the Red Sox' current interleague road trip on the West Coast.

"It sucks," said Dempster. "I've never been suspended in my career. It's not a fun feeling to have, but I'll just start serving it and be done with it on Sunday and go back to try to help my team . . . I wish things would have played out differently. I didn't want to get suspended, but they handed down a suspension, so I'm going to serve it and respect that."
     
Thanks to an off-day Thursday and Monday, Dempster could start as soon as next Tuesday when the Red Sox begin a homestand. That would be just two games after his next turn would have come up in the rotation, but he insisted the schedule wasn't a factor in accepting the punishment.
     
"No, really, that has nothing to do with it," he said. "I think it has to do with just taking my suspension and putting it past. There's no point in carrying on an appeal process. We have other things to worry about and that's going out and winning a ballgame tonight against the San Francisco Giants.
     
"Anyone who's ever been suspended, it's not a good feeling to have. But we'll move past it, I'll move past it as a player and be better for it."
     
There had been speculation that Dempster hit Rodriguez intentionally as a means of registering players' disappointment with appealing the 211-game suspension Rodriguez was handed, and thus, would have been hypocritical to appeal his own discipline.
     
"I thought about appealing," said Dempster. "But at the end of the day, Major League Baseball does a really good job thinking through punishments before they hand them out. I just thought it in the best as a team to go ahead and serve my suspension and move forward and do what I needed to do to go out there and be able to help us."
     
Dempster said he had no regrets in how he pitched Rodriguez in the second inning when his first pitch was behind Rodriguez and two others came close before plunking him on a 3-and-0 count.
     
"I will never take away trying to pitch inside," he said. "That's a real important part of pitching to any hitter, especially big power hitters. I always put my team first. Everything I do between starts, everything I do between the lines, even the days when I'm not pitching and I'm in here in the dugout, is always about putting the team first.
     
"I was throwing the ball really well until that sixth inning (when the Yankees scored four runs, including one on a Rodriguez homer) and was giving our team a chance to win. I just didn't complete my job and if I had done a better job, I think it would have been a non-issue."
     
Dempster also dismissed a reported suggestion that he was motivated to hit Rodriguez because the Yankee slugger once failed to attend a charity event hosted by Dempster.
     
"I don't really know Alex much," said Dempster. "He's never snubbed me."
     
Asked what he would think, as a fan, watching the four pitches he threw to Rodriguez, Dempster said: "I think the first one (could have looked like it was intentional), maybe. But after that I was just trying to throw the ball inside."
     
Manager John Farrell was unsure when he would start Dempster again with the upcoming off-days.
     
"We have a number of scenarios that we can map out going forward," said Farrell. "We haven't set our rotation upon Ryan's return. We have a sim game scheduled Friday in L.A., so we have ways of not only keeping him in shape but keeping him sharp. When we become more clear on what our rotation is going to look like, we'll certainly announce it."
     
For now, the Sox will start John Lackey Friday, Jon Lester Saturday and Jake Peavy Sunday.