BOSTON -- Alex Rodriguez emerged in the corner of the visitor's clubhouse at Fenway Park, dressed to the nines. He smeared some red-colored Chapstick on his lips and then gave them a workout.
In a question-and-answer session that lasted more than 10 minutes with New York and Boston media members, the Yankees third baseman touched upon everything from the appeal of his 211-game suspension, to his ugly relationship with the team for which he now plays, and his reaction to getting plunked on the left elbow by Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster in the second inning of New York's 9-6 win Sunday night.
"Whether you like me or hate me, that's . . . unprofessional," Rodriguez said of being hit by Dempster's 92-mph fastball. "It's silly. Kind of a silly way to get somebody on your team hurt as well."
There was no retaliation by Yankees pitchers, but Rodriguez -- who admitted he was "pissed off" by the hit-by-pitch -- got his measure of vengeance.
In his third at-bat of the game, he pummeled a Dempster offering about 450 feet into the bleachers in straightaway centerfield to cut the Red Sox' fifth-inning lead to 5-4.
Bolstered by what he said was a unified show of support from the Yankees dugout, Rodriguez finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
"That today kind of brought us together," he explained. "Joe [Girardi]'s reaction was amazing. Every single one of my teammates said hit a bomb and walk it off. They were as pissed as I was."
It took Dempster four tries to hit Rodriguez, and with his fourth fastball he found Rodriguez's elbow pad.
Warnings were issued immediately by home plate umpire Brian O'Nora. Girardi was irate and sprinting from his team's dugout before O'Nora could even signal toward the Yankees bench.
Girardi screamed at O'Nora and then turned to Dempster and unleashed a brief expletive-laden rant toward the righty. Television cameras caught Girardi walking off the field saying, "Somebody's going to get hit."
While Girardi argued that Dempster should be ejected, both teams' benches and bullpens cleared. At no point did it become a physical confrontation between the two teams, though, and Girardi was the only member of either club to be ejected.
Rodriguez said he was surprised there was not a warning issued when Dempster threw behind him with the first pitch of the second inning. He knew then, he said, that he was being targeted.
"Yeah, especially when it's behind me and he's a guy who has pretty good control," Rodriguez said. "I thought it was over at that point. I thought the umpires would handle it and make sure no one gets hurt in that situation."
Rodriguez said that to later hit a homer off of Dempster was "the ultimate revenge," and admitted that he may have glanced toward Dempster as he rounded the bases.
"Perhaps," he said. "I was pretty pumped."
Asked if he believed Dempster should be suspended for his actions in Sunday's game, Rodriguez opened his eyes wide and shook his head.
"I'm the wrong guy to be asking about suspensions," he said with a laugh.