While still maintaining his innocence Tuesday, Ryan Dempster decided not to appeal the five-game suspension handed down by MLB. He started serving the penalty with Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Dempster insisted Tuesday that he was just trying to pitch inside when, in the second inning of Sunday’s tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox, he hit Alex Rodriguez with a fastball. On what appeared to be at least the second try.
“No, I’m just accepting the suspension because I think it’s the best thing for us an organization,” Dempster said. “We’re trying to go out and win a division and get to the ultimate goal. You know, I’m just going to accept my suspension and move past it. Put the incident behind us and just go out there and continue to play baseball like we did last night.”
As opposed to when he hurt the cause by putting the leadoff man with a 2-0 lead Sunday. Dempster wound up allowing two runs in the second inning and seven overall in a 9-6 loss.
The Red Sox have Thursday and next Monday off, so Dempster’s suspension is no problem for them. Dempster’s turn was due to come up Saturday, but now he’ll pitch next Tuesday at the earliest.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.