Before you laud Ryan Dempster as The Defender of the Non-PED Users …

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The narrative after last night’s crazy Red Sox-Yankees game is probably going to center on Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch and all of the drama which surrounded it. That narrative is also likely to include a heavy dose of people excusing Dempster for throwing at A-Rod because A-Rod is evil and Dempster was standing up for those who don’t cheat, snitch and all of that stuff.

Before you hop on that train, however, check out these tweets from hockey journalist Wane Scanlan, which were highlighted in Dave Brown’s post over at Big League Stew:

Maybe it’s easy to hate A-Rod, but it would seem that Dempster already had a beef with A-Rod and it wasn’t about anything as high-minded as professional integrity.

Whatever animated Dempster, it was still pretty stupid. Even if you hate A-Rod for all of the best reasons on the planet, putting him on in that situation and giving what has been a listless Yankees team of late some baserunners and some motivation was dumb. And, as we’ve said several times around these parts, throwing at batters is dumb as a general rule. If it was about some petty personal snub it was triply dumb.

A.J. Hinch: “If it was any other time of the year, [José Altuve] wouldn’t be in the lineup.”

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It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:

He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.

Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”

During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.