Ryan Dempster’s first post-suspension start is August 30

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Ryan Dempster will return from his five-game suspension for throwing at Alex Rodriguez and start next Friday, the Red Sox announced.

Because the Red Sox have off days tomorrow and Monday the suspension didn’t really force them to juggle the rotation a whole lot. Without the suspension Dempster would have been in line to start Saturday against the Dodgers, but they can simply move up Jon Lester to take his place while also moving up Jake Peavy.

And because Dempster has a 4.77 ERA, including 27 runs allowed in 35 innings since the All-Star break, skipping him for one turn in the rotation isn’t such a bad thing for the Red Sox anyway.

As for Dempster, he basically gets a week of paid vacation and then will return to the mound on August 30 against a weak-hitting White Sox lineup at Fenway Park, where the Boston crowd will no doubt give him a big ovation. Helluva punishment.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.