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.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.